School is often thought of as something reserved for the young: schoolchildren, college students fresh out of high school, and even young professionals earning master’s degrees.
But the fact is that lifelong learning is something that’s beneficial at any age, and studies have shown that staying mentally active into your old age is good for both physical and mental health.
Education is valuable whether you’re going back to school for a new career, or just need something to do in your retirement years, and these 11 elderly learners offer an incredible amount of inspiration to never, ever stop learning.
At 42, we’re not sure that JoAn exactly qualifies as “elderly,” but she was roughly double the age of her classmates at Roxbury Community College and Boston University. Although she’s not the typical student in college, she was there for a good reason. She’s the mother of four children, one of whom was recently killed in a car accident.
To cope with her loss, Blake enrolled in school to fulfill her lost daughter’s dream of studying clinical science to help sick kids. With the help of a Boston University’s Metropolitan College scholarship offering money for school to parents of children in Boston Public Schools, Blake graduated, with honors, earning a bachelor’s degree in clinical science and fulfilling a dream.
The experience has been inspirational to others around Blake as well, giving her three surviving children the courage to pursue their own dreams of becoming physical therapists and law school students.
Wood and Lillian Nordenholz, both 71, have made master’s degrees a part of their retirement plans, pursuing a love of intellectual curiosity together at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
As part-time students in the Master of Liberal Studies program, they are simply enjoying “the journey rather than the destination.” Their lifelong love of learning is inspiring to all students and learners, as it’s for the pure joy of acquiring knowledge: the Nordenholzes are both retired and do not plan to pursue careers upon graduation from the program.