By Derick Abbey and Nick Kobel
Canalside Chronicles Staff
The minute you think you have nothing left to learn is when you stop trying to live a fulfilled life. There is a trend across the United States that shows more people are returning to college to gain degrees later in life. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, in 2014 there were approximately 12 million college students under the age of 24 and 8.2 million college students 25 and older. This trend means if you feel the pull to go back, you are not alone.
A large part of the reason there is a surge in the population of people returning to school is the programs being offered by colleges and universities to cater towards these returners. One such program is in our neck of the woods, at the SUNY College at Brockport.
The Auditing Courses program at The College at Brockport is designed to get current students, and more importantly, aged and retired adults the ability to sit in and participate in classes without having to make the time commitment needed to stay up on all of the coursework. The policy states that any New York resident older than 60 can sign up for classes with the purpose to audit them. There are restrictions to what courses you can audit but they program is designed to get students who might not have any formal college education into the motions of being a college student.
While the program does not offer credits to the students, it gives them the ability to take courses and see if they could handle taking on a class schedule. It might seem counter productive to go to class and participate, but with the participants fully immersing themselves into the idea they often become one of the most productive members of the class.
Catherine Mattis, a junior dual major in psychology and journalism/broadcasting remembers how hard working the two auditing students she has had in past psychology classes.
“I remember freshmen year there was an older man in one of my intro psych classes and he was the most active members of the class. He would sit up front and would never be afraid to start a discussion in class,” said Mattis.
With the time these students spend in class they are not only continuing their education, they are helping advance others. Sophomore Jared Rosenberg Says the best class he has taken in his time at Brockport was with an auditor.
“When I transferred to Brockport from Potsdam I was a history major and in one of the classes there was a very opinionated retired [man],” Rosenberg said. “He would always talk about his opinion in class and then cause debates that would devolve into arguments during class. I feel like I took a lot more from that class because we always got to talk about some stuff more.”
For these returning students coming back to school is a way to transform their retired life. They have found the drive and need to better themselves and are pushing hard to do so. Even though they might not walk away from it with a piece of paper showing their accomplishment they know what they have done. In the end the only thing you are left with at night is your mind, so don’t let it go to waste.