The older we get, the more we tend to slow down. We achieve our life goals, raise our families, and settle comfortably into retirement. We keep the same habits every day, and we lose interest in trying anything new. That works for some people. But for others, it can feel like stagnation. If you've found yourself bored and restless in your old age, it might be time to go back to school.
Going Back to School? Really?
Yes, you heard right. College isn't just for the young. There are plenty of public and private programs that welcome people of all ages. You can even pursue a degree online. Depending on the types of classes you take, the program can be tailored to be very friendly to your needs as a senior. Maybe you have a decades-old degree already. Maybe you don't. But is there anything you've been really thirsting to learn? It's never too late to throw yourself into academia. Your mind has the capacity for incredible things.
How Do I Pay for It?
Most people's retirement budgets are already stretched pretty thin. It's tough to rely on an investment income in today's economy, even if you had a lucrative career. If you're pinching pennies from day to day, you might think that you don't have the means to finance college. But that isn't true. There are grants and scholarships built specifically for older people who are pursuing their education.
In addition, private loans for college are available through private lenders. These can be used to cover your tuition and academic expenses so that you don't need to dip into those all-important retirement funds. You might also consider what type of school you'd attend. Online university degrees tend to be the most inexpensive, but they aren't always accredited. Community colleges are the next most affordable option.
Keeping Your Mind Sharp
If you feel like you're stagnating, you probably are. One of the best ways to keep your mind sharp is by seeking new experiences. Your brain needs new stimuli so that it doesn't start to lose its focus. There are online opportunities like games to keep your mind sharp that you can learn, but that is something you’ll do alone. School is one of the most interactive new experiences you can get.
Not only will you be learning new information and meeting new people, but you'll also need to meet expectations. You'll have to study and retain the info, write papers, have discussions, and do projects. All of that is to say, you'll be contributing to your program instead of being a passive participant. If you've felt like you don't have anything to do in retirement, this is a great choice.
Freedom of Age
Being older actually gives you a lot more freedom in academia. You don't need to study for a career. You don't need to worry about making your resume marketable. You don't need to stress about chasing a "useless" major. When you get a new degree in retirement, it's because you're pursuing knowledge for knowledge's sake. That frees you to learn about exactly what interests you, no matter how niche or non-marketable it is. Follow your passion.