Going back to school in COVID-times: How OC supports mature students in our communities

By Public Affairs | March 29, 2021

Joan Ragsdale, Regional Dean for Shuswap-Revelstoke
Joan Ragsdale, Regional Dean Shuswap-Revelstoke

In my years as a post-secondary administrator, I’ve had a front row seat to innumerable examples of how education truly does transforms lives, which in turn benefits and transforms our communities.

As Okanagan College’s Regional Dean for the Shuswap-Revelstoke, by far some of the most inspiring and remarkable stories I’ve been fortunate to witness over the years have been those of our mature students.

Working parents, who have summoned the courage and the will to go back into the classroom, level up their skills, maybe make a 180-degree career change, to improve their station in life and, in the process, to set a powerful example for their children. I’ve witnessed children who have cared for ailing parents return to school to become health care workers and continue that caring that now, more than ever, is so desperately needed in our communities. I’ve seen students launch businesses at 45 who at 25 may never have considered themselves entrepreneurs. And perhaps, most courageously, I have seen individuals who did not think they could succeed in school, decide to give it another try, and in doing so surprise themselves by what they were able to accomplish.

One thing is clear: the pathways that bring people back to a college classroom are as varied as the people who come here, and as limitless as the opportunities before them when they graduate.

On March 31, our campus is hosting one of my favourite events of the year – the Returning to Education Seminar.

This year the event will be happening virtually. And while I sincerely wish we could throw our doors open and invite the community in to meet and hear from the incredible educators, mentors, and human beings they’ll encounter to learn from and with as a student at OC, I’m also heartened that we’re still able to invite people in – albiet via zoom – to learn more.

As a parent, as an employee, as a busy community member myself, I know firsthand how challenging it can be for mature students to scrape together the time to attend an event like this.

But to them, I say this:

Please do. Take this time for yourself, for your family, for your future.

If you can find 15, 30 or 60 minutes, we’d love to welcome you virtually to our campus. We’d love to hear what questions you have about education. We’d love to put to rest and fears you might have about making the leap back into the classroom, whether it’s been a year or decades since you last took a class.

We can’t wait to offer you a window into the opportunities that could await you at OC.

The Returning to Education Seminar takes place on Wednesday, March 31 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. To register or for information, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/returningtoeducation.

- Joan Ragsdale, Regional Dean Shuswap-Revelstoke, Okanagan College

Tags: information session, Salmon Arm, Revelstoke Centre, Inside OC



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