Since retiring, I’ve certainly been enjoying the extra time. I’m making a noticeable dent in my to-be-read pile, and though my husband seems to have more of a brain for it, I’m trying to get better at sudoku.
But what I’d really like to do is complete a postgraduate degree that I never managed to finish during the demands of motherhood, marriage, and life in general. I’ve heard studying in retirement is great for the brain, but sometimes I wonder whether it’s worth doing – especially as I’ll never use the degree for the purpose of money or career.
I decided to investigate my options, and along the way I discovered there are plenty of study-curious retirees just like me!
Study avenues and university courses for retirees
University courses for retirees are becoming increasingly popular – and the option of single unit study makes it easy to choose your own learning adventure. Not looking to become a practising lawyer but would love to take the unit on criminal law? Single unit study makes this possible.
Numerous Australian universities have programs to help mature-age students gain admission to their degree of choice – many of which are available online through Open Universities. Some will admit applicants based on their employment history and others offer study credits for those who have completed a university course. The Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) has also been designed for those with no formal qualifications but who still want to further their education.
Fast-tracking your qualification
For some of us, the simple satisfaction of finishing something we’ve started is our reason for wanting to return to study after retiring. It’s a bucket list item just waiting to be ticked off – and until we’re holding the piece of paper confirming our qualification, it never will be!
However, it is an unfortunate reality for many retirees that these uncertain financial times and increasing cost of living expenses are forcing a return to the workforce. For others, the prospect of greater social interation and community inclusion is the driving force of a return to the familiar environment of employment. Whether it is a financial and social imperative that is steering one out of retirement, there is often a need to upskill or have our existing skillset formally recognised in order to return to part time or full time work.
Time and financial considerations of future study can be a deterrent. That’s where RPL could be the answer. RPL or Recognition of Prior Learning is a way for all your prior education, work experience and knowledge to be counted towards Australian course requirements. Once your skills are assessed, your path to gaining a qualification could be a lot shorter and less expensive than you first imagined.
For the love of learning
For many retirees, the idea of learning something new is akin to embracing a new hobby. There is a wonderful freedom in studying simply for pleasure. When the quest for knowledge is the only goal, with no pressure to get top marks or build a thriving career, study can be a joyful pastime.
And there are many benefits to undertaking study in retirement. It’s a brilliant way to stay socially connected, to keep active both mentally and physically, and to follow your passions. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to study art but financial and/or family responsibilities meant you chose a more practical path in earlier life. Now is the time to reignite the flame!