Autumn On-Campus – Lifelong Learning Classes

Autumn is in the air and for the third straight year, that finds me back on campus. One of the most interesting things I’ve been able to do in Early Retirement is take university classes on a variety of subjects.

Two years ago, when my own son was just starting college himself, I took advantage of a university parent’s program to take Freshman Sociology. It was a bit strange to be back on campus after almost 30 years, but I really enjoyed it. I wrote about the experience of being back on campus in this post:

POST – Back-To-Campus in Early Retirement

Last autumn I took an interesting class series through the university’s adult ‘lifelong learning’ program. Rather than be in class 2-3x a week with undergraduate students, it was a six week series open to the public, but still taught by university professors. It was an interesting overview of Engineering – with a focus on the properties, history, and applications of different materials.

A ‘Lifelong Learning’ course might be a better option for most early retirees wanting to get back in the classroom (I haven’t tried an online class yet). There are about 50 people in the auditorium today with most people appearing to be typical retirees in their 60s. It’s easy to fit in here and avoids the awkwardness of being the ‘Old Guy’ in an undergrad class – although I found it entertaining!

POST – Old Guy On Campus / Reflections

This fall’s course is focused on Film Studies. Today’s first class focuses on the Silent Film Era and is a combination of lecture and film clips. I’ve never had a Film Studies class before – there were others offered on the History of Scotland, a Political Science course on the mid-term elections, and a look at a World Religions. Some courses are even tied to overseas travel that combine classroom time with a guided trip.

The number of classes offered at my son’s university is a bit limited, but the nearby Big Ten University offers dozens more. I haven’t checked out any classes there yet, but I definitely enjoy the experience of being back on campus each fall and being a part-part-time student.

Who else has gotten back into the classroom and tried being a student again? Anyone tried any online courses offered through a University?

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6 thoughts on “Autumn On-Campus – Lifelong Learning Classes

  1. Lifelong learning keeps our minds youthful, Chief! Though we have two major private Universities in our town, neither has an adult-learner program, nor easy access to monitoring. I hope this will change as more folks retire with a desire to grow intellectually. As alternatives, I have attended classes, in person and online, offered by One Day University, which features lectures by leading academics. (Check for local opportunities). I regularly stream learning online from The Great Courses, which also feature top university professors. I’ve found these excellent and stimulating, not only in my particular areas of interest such as music, literature, art, and history, but also in subjects that range from structural engineering to global geology. Also, I attend weekly Bible studies, often taught by theologians with doctorates. These are closest to my heart and soul. Finally, I regularly read books which stretch my knowledge. Most recently, I finished the eye-opening “Walls: A History of Civilization in Blood and Brick” by David Frye. Highly recommended for lifelong learners!


  2. I’m hoping to go back and take Spanish this winter — as long as I can keep to a 30 hour work week! I took Intro to Psy a couple of years ago, then I got stuck with a 37 hour work week and that was too much. Oh, I took a math class once also and that was fun. I was surprised at how many young adults were in that math class as I thought high schools were stricter these days on core subjects, evidently I was wrong about that. It was just a lower level class on percents, ratios, etc.


    1. Spanish – or another foreign language – would be interesting. I’ve always said my goal was to travel the world without learning anyone else’s language, though! So far, so good!


  3. I looked at osher lifelong learning institute at the local college but as an early retiree I am too young for their minimum age of 50.
    iTunes U has a lot of free online college courses.


    1. Our Big Ten University has an Osher Program. I haven’t looked into it much yet, but didn’t realize they had an age minimum. Not sure why they would restrict people.


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