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‘After Retirement’

I thought I would share my experience of higher education after retirement, with the older readers of Focus. After taking early retirement and fulfilling most of my ambitions, I was left pondering on what the next challenge could be and decided to investigate reading for a degree. I found that a good place to start was with an Access course, which tells you if you are still capable as a mature student and also whether you really want to do it.

The Access course is for a year and while studying four modules, you are taught how to write essays, the bit I found hardest, how to use computers and in fact take advantage of all the facilities the University of Kent has to offer. All you are guaranteed at the end is an interview to progress to a degree course. I was fortunate enough to be accepted for a course in Politics and Government, something I have always found interesting, but I struggled with the amount of reading, due to all my other interests.

The course can be done full time in three years or part time in six and most mature students choose the latter, due to their other commitments. It is not easy but it is great fun. As you get older you want to do things to a higher standard than when you were young and this has meant spending many hours on essays to try and be equal to the school leavers you study with, whose education standards are far superior to anything I experienced.

I have now got my honours degree and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a challenge after retirement. Age makes no difference as long as you are prepared to mix with students, often young enough to be your grandchildren. My years at University, although difficult at times, have rekindled my thirst for knowledge and I embark on a Law degree in the Autumn. What with that and my other new challenges, like the house in Spain, I don’t think I will have time to get bored, but just go on enjoying life and my retirement to the full.

Mike Prickett - June 8th 2003

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