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Taking Classes After College? But Why?!

Aug 17, 2011

What would your college experience have been like if you could have taken only the classes that interested you? It's fun concept to think about, and while it general education requirements will probably always have their place in American universities, there is a time and place to take only the classes you want take. Unfortunately, that time is generally after you earn your degree. We asked our readers who are taking courses post-graduation to tell us what they're learning and why.

Jill Kai Photo

New Definition of On-the-Job Training

It is pretty common for employees at small nonprofits to find themselves filling multiple and unexpected roles. I started working at a nonprofit shortly after college as an admin that also helped manage the IT help-desk. Less than a year later we relaunched our website. Much to my dismay I had somehow proven myself to be technically inclined, so it made sense for me to coordinate that process. From there I started establishing our social media and overall online presence, and eventually it lead to me managing all of our communications.

The only problem is that I had no background in marketing; all I had to work with was what I picked up on the job. I felt that if I wanted to push our communications further I would need some kind of training. I started to look into MBA programs but between prepping for the GMAT, taking the prerequisite courses, and pursuing the degree while working full-time I calculated that it would take me over 5 years to complete. After a little research I found a marketing certificate program at UC Berkeley Extension and started my first two classes a couple months ago. It has been great to be back in the classroom learning from instructors that have spent years in the marketing field.

-Jill Kai

Charles Redd

Retiree Loves Learning, But Not at the Expense of Tennis

I decided to take community college courses years after finishing my degree because I wanted the mental and social stimulation of being in a classroom environment. The subject matter was secondary to both of these factors. I had no university requirements to adhere to and I took classes that did not interfere with my tennis schedule (I'm retired). I have taken semantic classes, speech classes, cooking classes, badminton classes, tennis classes, philosophy classes, computer classes, swimming classes and last but not least, wine classes. These included tasting classes, viticulture and enology classes. The wine classes were taken to bolster my knowledge in the wine business, since I dabble in that a little. The overriding factor was that I just love being on a campus and interacting with the professors and other students. Plus I believe the mind is like a muscle:, if you don't use it, you lose it. And every now and then I would meet a classmate and become friends with them.

- Charles Redd

Kiersten Tarr

Taking Latin...For Fun?

Three years after getting a B.A. I decided, for no apparent reason, to take an introductory Latin course at the local city college. It turned out to be a lot of fun, even if I was the only person in the class who already had a college degree and was taking Latin 'for fun.' Because I did not go on to become a Catholic historian (or any other kind of scholar), I haven't had much use for the Latin I learned during those 10 weeks. Two years later I did, however, manage to decipher a word I'd never seen before, stumbled across in a 19th century novel: impecuniousness. That means poverty, folks, and I figured that one out by remembering that pecuniam is the Latin noun for money, in one of its declinations. Admittedly, the only benefit of that knowledge was being spared a 30-second visit to dictionary.com, but it felt worth it. It felt unique.

- Kiersten Tarr


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