Retire from Work? Yes! Retire from Learning and Developing? Never!

Last updated: Jan 17, 2023

Introducing OLLI!

Those of you familiar with my blog entries know I frequently beat the drum for lifelong learning, usually to promote professional training that leads to career and workforce development. This time I will call your attention to the importance of education and progress when the job-related phase of life has ended and, in doing so, highlight the important work of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at USF. As one of 125 national OLLI units, the USF division offers quality, budget-friendly, non-credit programming to Tampa Bay’s 50+ demographic.


Something for Everyone

Take a look at the OLLI catalog and you will see a schedule of courses appealing to virtually any interest. The choices are many—subjects including history, foreign languages, art, physical fitness, and gastronomy are but a sampling. OLLI provides a stress-free, but effective learning environment. There are neither tests nor grades. Members are able to simply learn for the sake of learning and grow in the process. And with both face-to-face and online class offerings, OLLI can better accommodate the circumstances of more lifelong learners.


Cognitive and Physical Benefits

These stimulating courses allow members to learn new practical applications or pursue intellectual curiosities. Through lifelong learning models such as OLLI, seniors can sustain good cognitive function—a critical indicator of healthy aging. Recent studies suggest that—even for mature adults—mental processes such as learning a foreign language can trigger new neuron growth. OLLI learners reap physical benefits, too, by accessing offerings that inspire a fit lifestyle through fun activity.  


Social Connections

Perhaps the most underrated benefit of OLLI is that it also serves as a venue for robust social interaction, which is a critical need for many seniors. Through courses, shared interest groups, and educational outings, members have their pick of openings to engage within sets of like-minded peers. By learning together, friendships are formed along the way. The structure of OLLI programming encourages a sense of belonging for its members. These social connections contribute to emotional health and longevity, too!


Learning and Development Never End!

When the grind of 40-plus years in the workforce ends, a relaxed schedule is a proper award. However, hanging up one’s hat is not a license for mental and physical inactivity. While no longer career-minded, our retired and soon-to-be-retired populations should always seek new challenges. Learning never ends! Development never ends! Remember that OLLI delivers a variety of life-enhancing programming, giving seniors a chance to stay dynamic, connected, and fulfilled!


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