A potpourri of classes is how Adrian Janssens, 68, describes his current studies at the University of Saskatchewan, in Saskatoon, Canada. Despite having initially enrolled with the intention of studying music, the lifelong musician says he has now taken classes in music history, composition, political science, English drama, and archaeology.
Though he is not working towards a particular degree, Adrian describes learning as an ongoing experience. In fact, this is the second time he has attended university as a mature, if not in the past, senior-student, having previously studied at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada when he was in his forties.
"The age difference between myself and other students isn´t so much a challenge as a fact of life," he says, when asked if being a ´senior student poses any particular challenges to him. The importance of supporting his fellow students means more than any challenges he might face, as not only do the other students benefit from Adrian´s life experience, but helping them "makes me feel good."
Costs associated with classes may be prohibitive to some, especially the costs of textbooks, Adrian notes, joking that the same textbooks did not cost nearly as much when he was first attending school. But given that many universities are now waiving tuition costs, he believes that if people can afford it, then they should attend, just to "enjoy the experience."
More than anything, Adrian encourages other older people who might be thinking of returning to school, or attending for the first time, to just "go for it, just do it." In particular, he cites the wealth of resources available to students at the University of Saskatchewan as a reason to enroll - as a student, he has been able to record two musical autographs, using recording software made available by the university´s music department, that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive.
"I´m going to keep [attending classes] until I can´t do it anymore. The school, the whole experience, it keeps me young."
The IFA is looking to profile other senior students, both at the undergraduate and graduate level. If you are over sixty-five years of age and attending a post-secondary institution and would like to be profiled in an upcoming edition of VoltAge, please contact Kate MacRae at email@example.com
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