The pros and cons of post-retirement education

November 3, 2015

If you’re a recent retiree, going back to school could be a great option. Learning later on in life can have physical and mental benefits. But it can also be stressful. Read on to decide if it’s right for you.

The pros and cons of post-retirement education

Pro: learning keeps the mind busy

Going back to school involves learning new skills and concepts and juggling multiple classes. It’s a great way to keep your mind active, since you access parts of your brain rarely used outside the academic realm.

Keeping your mind busy in this way can help protect against dementia.

Pro: attending classes keeps the body busy

When you have to get up, walk to class, talk and even engage in low-impact movement you are keeping your body active. Physical activity can help ease arthritis discomfort and prevent excess weight gain.

Going to school is definitely better for your mind and body than staying at home during the day.

Pro: studying provides a sense of focus

The first several months after retirement may be filled with long naps and calm, quiet days during which you don’t do much of anything. It’s natural to want to enjoy your newfound freedom.

However, this feeling can subside and lead to feelings of boredom, restlessness and even depression.

Studying can help alleviate this by giving you an activity outside of your home to focus on and goals to work towards.

Con: going back to school can be stressful

If you enjoy not having pressing appointments or projects each day, getting a post-retirement education may seem like a burden. You’ll have assignments and deadlines, and this might be more stress than you’re willing to take on at this point in your life.

You definitely don’t want school to feel like the job you left.

Con: learning may have limited practical use

Getting an education after retirement may be of no concrete use to you. You won't be using your new knowledge or skills on the job, or to get a new job. Some people dislike the idea of going back to school after retirement for this very reason.

However, getting a less time-intensive degree in a hobby, such as writing, painting, or exercise science, can be a great option. You’ll learn more about something you already have an interest in and will be able to put your knowledge to use.

Still not sure if a post-retirement education is right for you? Why not visit some of the campuses in your city to check out the programs available. Chances are they offer a wide range of degrees in different subjects. You might just find something that peaks your interest and feels like a good fit.

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