If you’re considering going back to school in your 60’s, you may have some reservations about whether you’ll be socially accepted or be able to keep up with your studies. Fortunately, you have several advantages as a mature student, including life experience, wisdom, and a newfound appreciation for learning and knowledge. Whatever the reason, by pursuing your education at this time in your life, you are showing yourself and others that it is never too late to pursue your passions.
The Benefits of Being an Older Student
You may be surprised to know that the number of people over 60 who are returning to school is on the rise. For many people in this age group, going back to school is a way to make themselves more marketable in an increasingly competitive workforce. With more companies downsizing and eliminating positions, older workers need to find ways to set themselves apart from the younger competition. A graduate degree can be the key to landing that dream job or promotion.
For others, going back to school is simply a way to satisfy a lifelong desire to learn. Whether it’s finally getting that master’s degree or taking classes just for fun, older adults are seizing the opportunity to learn something new. And with flexible learning options, it’s easier than ever for busy adults who are seeking an online master’s degree to fit into their schedules. With a number of exciting degrees to choose from, this can be a time for reinvention and bold exploration like never before. Maybe you’re looking to further advance in your career or try something new altogether. There is no shortage of options when it comes to planning your new path.
As an older student, it is likely that you have more time and focus to devote to your studies, which will allow you to absorb content in meaningful ways. With an enhanced perspective and approach, you will glean more insight and knowledge and be better equipped to apply these learnings in your work, making you a valuable asset to any company.
Facing the Stigma
Despite the increasing number of older students, there can still be a stigma attached to returning to school later in life. This is often due to the belief that older students will not be able to keep up with their younger peers; however, this is not always the case. In fact, many older students find that they are better able to focus and learn more effectively than they did when they were younger. Oftentimes, they also have more life experience to draw upon, making them better able to relate to the material.
Another area of concern may simply be not fitting in with your college-age peers. While the difference in age may be an inescapable reality, the truth is that every family has a structure, and this can be applied to the class setting as well. You will find that your classmates are much less concerned about your age than they are about who you are as a person. You can also use this opportunity to serve as a mentor and voice of wisdom for those who are open to it. Your wealth of experience and unique perspective can be an invaluable asset that you bring to the classroom setting and share with others.
Returning to school in your 60’s can be a bit intimidating and daunting; however, by acknowledging your skills, strengths, and potential for growth, you can step back into the classroom with confidence. While you may feel out of place at first, once you begin interacting with the new learning material and finding ways to maximize your experience, your focus will shift from uncertainty to that of confidence and motivation. It takes courage to step back into the classroom at an older age, however, the benefits you will enjoy will not only lead to a more fulfilling life, but they will serve as an inspiration to others.