I have friend who has been talking about retirement as an opportunity for ‘rewirement‘ – that is to rewire, “our minds, our bodies, and our plans for years of continued growth ahead.” I agree, and as I’ve said before, it is a big, wonderful world and my goal in early retirement is to soak in all of its wonderfulness. To that end, and on a bit of a last-minute whim, I just registered as a college student for a class this fall semester.
It’s been 30+ years since I’ve first enrolled on campus and I will acknowledge that is a bit of an awkward (but enjoyable) development for a few reasons:
First, I’m taking advantage of a “parents on campus” program at the same university that our son has just started as a freshman. They allow parents of full-time students to take up to two undergrad classes a semester free-of-charge. Classes can be for credit in a degree program, or you can just audit them (which is what I’m doing).
To be clear, while my son is at the same university, I am taking the class for my own interest – not to stalk him or drive him crazy. Since there are over 6,000 students on campus on any given day, I don’t expect to run into him too often and I won’t pester him when I’m there.
Perhaps it’s additionally awkward since I am obviously old enough to be every student’s father on campus (and quite a lot of the faculty & staff). Unlike my new classmates, I’m not working toward a degree or to prepare myself for a career. Been there done that. I’m back purely for the love of learning.
As a good friend pointed out recently, I’m not one to “let a little awkwardness stop you”, so I am expecting to really enjoy this new learning adventure. I am registered in Introduction to Sociology 100, Section 2. I enjoyed Sociology in high school, but never took it in college. Some of the other classes I considered were Art History, Film Studies, and World History (from Ancient Times to the Renaissance). The Sociology class worked out to be the best time (9:55am start) meeting only two days of the week.
I also thought Sociology would be educational to immerse myself in learn more about differences in socioeconomic opportunity and the balance between individual freedom and responsibility to the collective good. Since I spent my career building evil ‘big business’ for MegaCorps and politically I am a libertarian, I thought this class might challenge some of my heartless capitalist views. 🙂
Yesterday was my first day of freshman-level classes since 1984 and I had to laugh that when I approached the university’s elegant, signature arches (pictured above) a young student strolled through wearing a “Reagan/Bush 1984” campaign T-shirt. Perhaps I am not as awkwardly out of place as I might have thought!
Update: Going back to campus is already paying off financially. The class is free and I was able to use my student ID to get into the university football game for free. Saved $8! I can’t wait to see what other student discounts I can get. I heard with a university email address you can get Amazon Prime without a subscription fee. Going to check that out now!
Image Credit: MrFireStation.com