Adventures of a Senior Citizen: A Senior Citizen Goes to Class

Attending NOVA as a senior citizen has it benefits!  In this post, our student contributor, Margaret Ransom provides her perspective and shares how attending NOVA has proven especially beneficial.


As a senior or “seasoned” citizen, I attend college for free.  The state of Virginia has mandated tuition waivers for citizens of my age for audit and for credit.  Tuition waivers for credit courses is reserved for those whose incomes fall within a prescribed range.  Classes are available on a space-available basis on the day before the 1st day of class.  According to Dr. Al Sears, you can slow or prevent the cognitive decline that sets in with age by challenging your mind every day.  Dr. Sears further states that “research shows the more you use your brain, the less your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.”  Attending college and especially working with a foreign language helps me to use my brain more.  “By stimulating your mind, you preserve your memory, and can and can even restore the clarity you had in your youth!”

This summer, my foreign language professor discovered that several “seasoned” citizens, including me, were accidentally dropped from the class roll after we started attending the class.  Having discovered this before the next class day, she was able to contact the registrar and by the time I went re-enroll, I was already back on the roll.

Seasoned citizens are eager to learn and may influence the younger students to take college more seriously.  Many senior citizens have traveled abroad and add excitement to a foreign language class.  Class is so much fun!!!

More about our Seasoned Senior Student Contributor, Margaret Ransom:

“Being a student at NOVA is a great opportunity for me.  I love the college environment and I am a firm believer that attending college improves the mind.  As I grow older chronologically, I want my thinking to improve and to bypass age-related cognitive decline.  Because I was born in a Leap Year, I am NOT really 63.  I have only had 15 birth anniversaries.  Every year for the past 3 February’s, I have gone to sleep on February 28th excited about waking up to a birthday celebration.  When I awakened, I discovered that it was already March 1st.  Next year is another Leap Year and I will finally wake up on my birth anniversary.  I can’t wait!!!

My previous experience includes information technology doing requirements analysis, writing assessments and analysis documents, software development, and software testing in support of telecommunications and other areas.  My experience in testing includes unit, integration, system, and acceptance testing to ensure that the software meets the user’s needs.  I also performed end-to-end testing to test the flow of applications from start to finish and ensure their proper integration with external interfaces.  Also performed regression testing to ensure that any changes or enhancements to the software did not introduce new faults or affect other parts of the software.

At Carnegie Mellon University, I was a teaching assistant where I was also involved in Artificial Intelligence research.  I obtained my Master’s degree in Mathematics from George Washington University.”



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