Greetings Lifelong Learners!

The day to day routine can feel just like rowing a boat.  You do the same thing over and over again. It’s  slow and steady, safe, predictable. But it feels like you’re not really getting anywhere. Sometimes you just need to shake things up a bit.
So, like you, after what seemed like an eternity I decided to go back to school. Why? Simple.  Curiosity, a thirst for knowledge, a way to slow down mental degeneration – you know, those quirky little moments when you can’t recall where you left the car keys,  who that person was you woke up in bed with , or gosh even why you had to go to the bathroom….. ok, that’s pretty obvious but you get my point.
I  got my B.Comm in 1976 from McGill University in Montreal.  Since then I’ve worked in many different jobs, seen the world and raised a family. As I neared retirement something began to gnaw at me. I felt like I was being left behind. I had fallen into a routine of complacency. My brain seemed to be slowing down. My teenaged son and I would have conversations about history or politics and I would make a point. He would refute it, then Google it on his iPhone and in seconds prove he was right while I was still reaching for an encyclopedia to check the facts. Technology had made leaps and bounds right before my eyes. In my late fifties I still hadn’t a clue what made Facebook so addictive or why YouTube is such an amazing resource. As far as I was concerned, Twitter was what birds did.
So here I am in my first year of grad school writing a blog about why old timers like me, and yes you out there….(hey we’re the boomers, we never get old – right?) are taking courses and upgrading our education.
More than that, I’d like to know how you are dealing with all this new technology, what works, what’s frustrating and why. Is it helping you learn, or is it a hindrance? Drop me a line. I’d love to hear your story.
During the course of this blog I’ll be posting short video interviews with people just like you who have made the leap of faith back to school.  More soon.
Cheers, Mark

Back to school 36 years later


About M. Behrend

As a kid growing up in the sixties I had an overactive imagination. As an adult I realized that sometimes the truth can be more amazing than fiction. Everybody has at least one good story to tell.

2 responses to “Greetings Lifelong Learners!”

  1. gerry de simone says :

    Ive always had the impression since i was at grade school that University was the only way to achieve happiness, wealth, and success in life. It was drilled into our heads, over and over, that unless we aspired to go to university we would not be living a worthwhile or acceptable life. I always loved art, art history, and more than anything desired to be an artist of some kind, graphic, photographic, or fine portrait artist. I applied to the four year art course that my high school recommended and submitted a portfolio of my works. Because of the limited number of students accepted to this course, I was regrettably not one selected. I switched into a four year arts and science course, which was a remedial type high school course and led to community college rather than university. I put in my four years and another year at business college at my fathers urging because, as he put it, you cant make a living being an artist, and became a secretary which was a career that paid the bills but basically I was involved in helping someone else who was successful in life run their affairs. I had dreams of going back to school or university and taking graphic arts but had a family and put my needs and wants behind theirs. As I enter my senior years, I still have this nagging idea of going back to school, not necessarily to get a degree, but to learn about things I am interested in. I think that learning is a consequence of the desire of wanting to know and that it never stops. I am always wanting to know about everything. I have never shied away from technology in all its forms having sons who taught me how to navigate through the various avenues of cellphones, smartphones, computers etc. I feel that the sharing of information and ideas through technology allows you to learn without going to school. I have thoughts daily about things and look them up easily and frequently. We are better informed about stock markets around the world for example now than every before. We really have no need for libraries or encyclopaedias. Our world has changed but I have kept pace with that change. Im glad Im not the kind of senior that is confused and unsure about technology and that Im comfortable with the gamut of social media and participating in it wholeheartedly. I didnt live my dream of being an artist but feel satisfied that I have a better understanding about life through daily sessions with my computer and my thirst for knowledge.

    • mbehrend says :

      Thanks for your comments Gerry. One thing we are finding that learning is not necessarily tied to a learning institution. Curiosity is the greatest stimulant to learning. Being surrounded with like-minded people whether in person or in an on-line community is a powerful environment for learning. You thirst for knowledge and willingness to use technology to help you in your quest makes you a true lifelong learner.

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