Wednesday, April 28, 2010

School is out

Summer is coming and with it comes the end of school. Yup! At 67, I am still in school. I audit classes and write papers on the subjects I think I might enjoy writing about-mostly in the philosophy area. Test and major research can be a bit stressful so I pass on most of those. Lucky for me Minnesota does not charge tuition for folks over 62. I pay a technology fee and parking. Comes out to about $10 a credit and what a bargain that is. In the past four years since I have retired, I have taken twenty-one classes.

I take my classes at the North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, about 20 minutes north of my home. NHCC is a community college with about 3000 students, ages 16 on up. The younger folks are still in high school earning credit for college classes. They come to the college for part of their day and spend the rest at their high school. We have a sprinkling of older folks looking to improve their education so they can increase their earning at their jobs and, of course; we have the college aged youngsters. There are only two of me-retired old folks.

Attending NHCC has changed my opinion about community colleges. My first reaction was the college was for kids who could not hack it at a "real" college and the teachers were just better educated high school teachers. Boy was I wrong! The teachers are excellent. Most with PhDs and many of them teach at NHCC because they are teachers first. You deliver a first class education.

I enjoy History so I have burned through the history department - at least the European history part. Now I am going to take some American history classes.

Taking classes as a senior citizen it really nice. You don’t have the stress the kids do as they study for classes and write papers and everyone thinks you’re a lot smarter then you really are. White hair and old age does that to you I guess.

A few observations: some of the young people at NHCC are really intelligent. On the most part many of the kids in my classes have excellent minds. They could compete at any four year college they chose to go to. What they lack is life experience and cultural literary. Things I take for granted, they have no knowledge of.

A good number of them are also so very conservative. They think government is bad and are believers in just about any conspiracy theory you can think of. The internet is a where they seem to get most of their knowledge I guess.

The college has international students and many students who recently arrived in the USA. I was talking to a young man from Syria who was here on a student visa. Who would have thought a little school like ours would attract a foreign student? What is nice is that student will be given as many remedial classes as he needs to succeed.

Being retired is great and having the time to relearn stuff you missed as an undergraduate makes my winters go quickly. Life is good.

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