Let’s see … left over pasta from Friday – check…. Course book and assignments – check…. Notebook – check…. Beer money – definitely check! Hold it. Stop there! BLOG WARNING TO YOUNG READERS … If you are under 30 you may want to stop reading this post now. God forbid you don’t want to be known reading any sort of boring reflection from someone more than a day over 50! Equally, this blog cannot be responsible for any erroneous ‘shares’ to your scores of ‘friends,’ ‘followers,’ and believers, thereby proclaiming your allegiance to all things grey – and we’re not talking ‘50 Shades of Grey’ either. May you have a wonderful life and all the best. For the rest of us, you may remember creating this type of checklist many, many moons ago as we prepared for class (actually checklists are an everyday part of most over 50 lives as the old grey cells need a trigger or two for memory recall). Now what was I saying … Oh yes. Returning to school for the over 40 and 50 set becomes more and more popular as many Canadians look to leading productive and focused lifestyles by instituting an academic upgrade. Whether you want to strengthen your memory, bolster your resume, or keep up with the latest and greatest in your profession, returning to school is an intelligent choice and it seems to be growing. According to the voice of 50 up in Canada, Zoomer Media:
- In 2012, 1.4 million Canadian over 50 reported attending classes. (PMB, Fall 2012). This represented 22% of all Canadian students
- 296,000 were attending college, representing 28% of all college students
- 331,000 were attending university, represented 19% of all university students
We can clearly see growth in this market but the question still remains, ‘What about online as opposed to face-to-face (F2F)? Is this still viable with the over 50 crowd?’ Yes seems to be the answer but only if they can stay at home as opposed to venturing to their local varsities. In 2011, California State University, East Bay, delivered a study to validate their online efforts entitled: Students’ Perceptions of Online or Face-to-Face Learning and Social Media in Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism. Their findings showed:
… of the 25% seniors taking the course, 78% took the study online and 18% F2F.
This percentage would skew within course content but paints a not too ‘active’ picture of boomers (b. 1945 – 1964) and now as of this year, Gen X (b. 1964 -).
Rubbish! This blog says this does not represent many over 50 students we know! Well …. Maybe just one … To put this into perspective, here are five good reasons why you need to experience F2F education as opposed to staying in the basement and turning on the record player to Dark Side of the Moon for the 7,342th time while waiting for your webinar. REFERENCE BOOMER MUSIC HERE: How do I know? Because I have had the fortunate circumstance of attaining this knowledge first hand by attending the spring term at University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Education’s certificate in Digital Strategy and Communications Management. FIVE DEAD TO RIGHT REASONS TO CHOOSE F2F LEARNING
- It gets you out of the house. This may sound a little negative to some that are in an office all day and want nothing more than to go home and enjoy a nice single malt. Exactly what I thought until about the third week in, as I gradually started to appreciate having one weeknight dedicated to going downtown and mixing with other humans. Often our nights are consumed with household chores and family responsibilities. The best tonic to this becoming over-whelming is night school.
- You get to meet new and fascinating people. Remember, post-secondary school is the same then as it is now. You are with ‘like’ minded people. We’re not talking Facebook ‘likes,’ we’re talking having the same interests. Well maybe not in clothes … But certainly in subject matter. You won’t get this at work unless your department is actually your entire workplace. Or of course you work for Hootsuite, Google or any other of those hipster joints.
- You get to go back in time. I’m not talking H.G. Wells time machine travel, but by immersing yourself into campus life some 20 odd years later, you will be pleasantly surprised how it all comes back. Saturating your senses with all things academic; with a rather big difference this time ‘round. You are there just once a week and have beer money.
- Engagement. Picard said it best when finishing off some nasty aliens, “Engage.” Come on, how much engagement can you have by taking a course online? You’re lucky if the technology actually even works for the lectures yet alone participating in one. Going back to school F2F will re-energize your debating and discussions skills a heck of a lot better than arguing about why your office in the basement wasn’t vacuumed last week. Added bonus, the young ones may teach you a thing or two.
- It keeps you young at heart. We are referred to as boomers, mid-boomer, late-boomers and now this year, first of the Gen X’ers. We may be balding, building the midriff and regularly go to bed at 10, but we actually do have an inner-self. This spirit lives on as a 21 year-old – without the physical part of course. By mixing with folks 10, 15 and 20 years younger, this ‘young soul’ inside is given a much deserved outing filled with friendship, respect and modernism. Yes, modernism. You must embrace everything new when you go back to school which allows you to enjoy the best thing of all – intellectual adventure.
So there you have it. For the ones still listening to Floyd, have a good one! The rest, welcome to an old friend called school (not high school of course as we all hated that part of our lives). You will reopen a door with no stress or expectations other than what you have already set. Put away the Skype and pack a snack ‘cause you’re going to embrace this new part of your life with all the enthusiasm of a 20 year old. REFERENCE NEW EXCITING BAND HERE:
john k. bromley