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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Trudie on July 22, 2015, 09:12:46 AM

Title: To get another degree -- minus the bull****??
Post by: Trudie on July 22, 2015, 09:12:46 AM
When I am (often) bored at my job and daydreaming about my post-FIRE life I muse about how I would like to spend my time.  There are a few things I know about myself at now 44-years of age:  (1)  I like being intellectually engaged; (2) I am an introvert, with an active "inner" life; (3) I like having goals, but only when they're intrinsic; (4) When I'm into something I enjoy I can lose myself for hours in it.

I have done many things professionally in my life.  I've always enjoyed writing (reading classic literature, not so much) and I'm an analytic person who likes to study things -- particularly in the social sciences.  In college I came to terms that I was essentially a "conventional" person... that I would probably be stressed out trying to eek out a living as a writer, or perhaps I was just too unsure of myself at the time.  I was good at it.  I went to a liberal arts school, so consider myself "well-rounded" and "well-read."  Professionally speaking, however, I took the conventional path and now work as an accounting/finance director at a small company.  I have my CPA license.

I really enjoy school, but I am done with grades, tests, standardized exams, and deadlines.  I've made it through 7+ years of undergraduate and graduate education, the CPA examination, and too many continuing education "hoops" to count.  I was always the "good" student (Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude.)   I cannot envision a future where I have to study for tests and grades, sit in a chair for hours on end, and jump through more hoops.  I want to engage with others but I'm not into seeking their approval, if that makes sense.

Has anyone ever pursued another course of study (either as a non-degree seeking student, or through auditing courses) just for the hell of it in their FIRE years?  I am pondering studying English (composition) or perhaps languages/linguistics or perhaps all of the above.  I think I would particularly enjoy working in a library (paid or unpaid) and doing some tutoring -- possibly in ESL.

How did you go about it?
Title: Re: To get another degree -- minus the bull****??
Post by: Noodle on July 22, 2015, 12:24:50 PM
I am still working myself, but through our non-profit I meet a lot of older adults who are lifelong learners. Some pursued second (or third degrees) but most preferred to assemble their education through a variety of avenues. (Of course, there are also books, online courses and videos which can be terrific if you don't mind the lack of interaction.)

Some of the things our volunteers tell me they do:

Classes at the community college, the continuing education programs of various universities, and some local for- and non-profit organizations. At the University of Washington, for instance, people over 60 can audit up to two classes per quarter for free.

One gentleman took intensive Spanish classes for about six months and then traveled South America on his own to solidify his fluency.

The Great Books book discussion program, and also various book groups (depends on the quality of the leadership. Once we had a retired English teacher as leader and he was terrific).

Art classes through a local non-profit art school

Many are docents for various local institutions; the training programs for some can almost match a college degree for content and then there is continuing education.

Lots of traveling, specifically on trips organized to study something or other.
Title: Re: To get another degree -- minus the bull****??
Post by: forummm on July 22, 2015, 12:30:51 PM
Take MOOCs online for free. All the learning you want. There are literally thousands of university courses available. When I FIRE I'm going to be taking classes all the time. Coursera, Yale, MIT, etc. I have a whole list of free resources saved at home. They are easy to find if you search.
Title: Re: To get another degree -- minus the bull****??
Post by: Kaspian on July 22, 2015, 12:44:41 PM
No way in hell I'm going back to school.  ...I'm 43 and I like to chastise people my own age who decide not to work, take out a student loan, and go back to school.  "You're 43, you've made your bed!  That train has left the platform years ago.  You should be thinking about retirement not education."  :)

Anyway, my nastiness aside, when I reach FIRE I may take one or two criminology courses.  ...Not with a goal of any BA. Masters, or Doctors, or new job, or anything--just because I find the subject matter interesting and it'd be a nice switch from IT. 
Title: Re: To get another degree -- minus the bull****??
Post by: Trudie on July 22, 2015, 02:44:55 PM
Just as a point of clarification -- would NOT involve taking out loans or a sacrificial financial outlay.  I'm interested in learning for the sake of learning, not to pad my resume.  I am way beyond that.  I have worked hard, reinvented my career path, gone out on a limb several times and at 44+ I'm not interested in doing that anymore... at least in the ways that mean getting the approval of others (or a job, or an interview, or a credential....)
Title: Re: To get another degree -- minus the bull****??
Post by: NorCal on July 22, 2015, 03:09:13 PM
Following, as I might consider something similar.  I'm a number of years away though.

The community college system would be an amazing resource in this regard.  The classes are pretty inexpensive and the education is good.  If I remember correctly, Dr. Doom ended up getting a free degree while working a staff position at a college.

I'd personally probably take some community college courses on AutoCad, design, and architecture.  Not because I'd want to work in these fields, but because I'd like to learn how to design and build stuff myself.

Title: Re: To get another degree -- minus the bull****??
Post by: Yankuba on July 22, 2015, 05:37:29 PM
My mother takes music and film classes at the local community college. She doesn't takes the classes for credit so she doesn't have to take exams or write papers. I took a photography class at the community college for very little money.
Title: Re: To get another degree -- minus the bull****??
Post by: pbkmaine on July 22, 2015, 06:23:57 PM
There are colleges that allow local residents to audit courses. Bowdoin in Brunswick, Maine does. You must live in Brunswick and the professor must allow you to audit the course. Check around.