Old Dogs, New Tricks

By Terry Portis

Some clichés are wrong. “You can’t teach an old dog, new tricks” is one of them. It might take longer to teach old dogs new tricks, but they can still learn. They might also need a nap after performing the trick. The point is that you are never too old to learn, a cliché that is right.

Are your college years a haze that you can barely remember? A friend recently shared with me that he really wasted his learning opportunities in college. He was there to get a piece of paper, a credential, so he could get a job. Recently, though, he has taken classes because he wanted to learn something, to have a better understanding of something that he found interesting. Learning for the sake of learning is fun and meaningful. It enriches your life.

Anne Arundel Community College is the community’s college. Everyone is welcome here, and it is hard to imagine that the college would not offer topics that you might like. If you have ever thought, “If I had it to do over with again I would…,” then this is your chance. You can do it over again. Take that English composition class and show people how it’s done, or take a math class and see if there is some way you can use algebra in everyday life. Learn about geology, astronomy or biology. Dissect a frog or mix chemicals together in a lab to see what happens (I’m joking about that last one, of course).

How you can save some money

Adults over 60 do not have to pay tuition for most credit classes, only for the books and fees. For those who have children and grandchildren in college, you understand how much tuition can be. In fact, you can take a class and brag about how you don’t have to pay tuition now that you’re older. They will be impressed with your savvy and wish they were over 60.

Programs just for adults over 50

AACC also has some of the largest and most varied programs for older adults in the country. People have told me they changed their mind about moving to another area because of the programs we have at the college.

The Guild for Life is a program where you learn about a place, an event or a person or people. Then, after the lecture, you travel somewhere in our region to visit the location related to what you learned about. If you couldn’t sleep as a child when you had a field trip the next day, then this might be for you.

The Peer Learning Partnership (PLP) is what is known as a self-directed learning community. Members plan their classes and activities, and then volunteers lead the activity or teach the class. Open discussions take place each Friday on topics from current events to technology. The cost of membership is reasonable, and you can choose to sit and enjoy, or get involved in planning and teaching.

The Seniors Program takes place primarily at senior centers in Anne Arundel County. Health and wellness classes are the most popular. Other classes include history, computers, writing and foreign languages. Adults 60 and over pay an $80 fee per quarter and can select as many classes as they like.

Finally, LifeStages is a program for midlife adults who are working, caring for elderly family members, or trying to stay healthy and vibrant. These are shorter classes that are held in person or online.

Finding More Information

For more information about credit courses and degrees, go to www.aacc.edu and click on the Areas of Study section to see all that is available. Each of the programs described here has its own website. For more information about those programs for adults, go to www.aacc.edu/lifestages Be sure to look at the related links box for each of the programs or for more information call 410.777.2609.

Dr. Terry Portis, holds a doctorate in education and is the director of the Center on Aging at Anne Arundel Community College, a department that annually serves more than 4,000 people over the age of 50. He can be reached at [email protected]





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