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Seniors Go Back to School Too!

Guest Blogger: Julie Grannan

August can be a bittersweet month, especially when you are a kid.  The summer is coming to an end, the local pool has closed up even before Labor Day weekend hits, and it’s back to school time.  But wait…back to school time for many kids is such an exciting time!  As Italked to my sister the other day about my nieces heading back to school this week, I vividly remember going to orientation day in grade school with my mom and siblings.  This was the day where you ran as fast as you could to view the posted list of who was in which classroom with which teacher, and of course to see if any of your friends were in your class.  You received your books and list of needed school supplies.  And for us Catholic school kids who had to wear uniforms, we might just get a new one if we had outgrown ours from the previous year.

Then skip ahead about 15 years, and I remember starting my final year of school.  I was a senior at Indiana University and taking an introductory computer-programming course.  I cannot say that I remember much about the course, the teacher’s name, or that I’ve retained much of what I learned; however, I do remember one of my classmates.  She was a sweet little old lady probably in her mid to late 70s.  She had so bravely enrolled in a college computer course in order to get herself up-to-speed with computers.  I hate to admit that I never actually spoke to her, but I did take notice of an unfortunate situation. You see this wasn’t a beginner’s course in how to use computers.  The rest of us in the class already knew how to navigate our way around the keyboard and how to manipulate the mouse.  To us, those skills were “simple,” right?  Well, to some people and many seniors, computers and this thing called the Internet can be a scary thing.  And, rightfully so.  I often equate it to trying to ski for the first time at 60+.  That could be terrifying!  In this case, the teacher politely spoke to her after class one day and explained that he felt she would be better off in a different class…a more introductory one.  I obviously still think of this woman however, and her gumption to keep learning later in life.  Such a lesson to witness and learn!

Post college, I have come to see that many seniors don’t let the aging process stop them from continuing to learn.  It’s inspirational to me, especially on those days when I’m feeling a tad lazy.  So, as the days begin to shorten, the leaves are changing colors and beginning to fall off the trees, I encourage you to think about this back to school season as not just about kids.  Consider your own back to school plan, enjoy the autumn season and learn like you never have before!

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