Retiring after 30 years from a rewarding career with Corrections Canada in 2014, Stephanie Hronek was ready to embrace a new challenge.
While browsing through a Continuing Education calendar from Camosun College, she was intrigued by the opportunity to reinvent herself at the age of 58.
“I wanted something that kept my brain active, that kept me in touch socially with people and I wanted to contribute in a meaningful way, “ she says. “I’d been thinking about what I was going to do to transition into retirement a few years ahead of time and I was looking for something with a lot of flexibility.”
Her daughter had recently graduated from Camosun as a medical lab assistant and the two of them decided to attend an information session for the hospital unit clerk program which led to her enrolment.
“I thought it was suited to my previous work history, my abilities and my interests – and it coincided beautifully with my planned retirement date.”
Looking around the classroom on her first day, Hronek could see that many students were younger, but any fears of not fitting in were quickly dispelled. “We all had a common interest and we got along beautifully. We even had some potlucks together and still keep in touch.”
Her instructors knew how to welcome and support mature students. “The instructors adapted to us being adult learners. It was just overall a wonderful learning environment,” she recalls. After completing the program, she now works as a unit clerk at Victoria General Hospital. “I want to keep doing this as long as I enjoy good health and feel passionate about it.“
Camosun bookkeeping instructor and Saanich resident Dave Davies has taught many mature students during his 26 years teaching continuing education courses at the college.
“I think first of all I have to recognize that many haven’t been in a classroom for a long time and they might be feeling a little apprehensive or nervous,” he says. “I try right from the very beginning to create a comfortable environment for everyone.”
Following retirement as a professional accountant, Davies continues to be energized by the classroom experience.
“I love it. I get a lot of satisfaction with presenting material that’s maybe a little bit complicated in a way that’s more understandable. I see students react to that and see that they understand it. Many students express that they couldn’t understand it by reading the textbook but they do after they have had a classroom lesson. I’ve found Camosun to be very friendly and co-operative and I really like it here.”
Some of the retirees he’s taught have returned to school to help with the family business. ”In cases I can think of, they were working with their son who was actually running the business and they felt that they wanted a little better understanding of the bookkeeping side of things.”
From short-term employment-focused certificates or language and photography classes to business and computer training, Continuing Education at Camosun College offers over 300 part-time, daytime and evening courses and programs. Many people seek a more rewarding career, personal growth or an opportunity to delve more deeply into a particular area of interest. Classes run all year-round. For more information, visit: camosun.ca/ce.