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Class Is In

Once your school days are behind you, it’s time to learn for fun

Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks was barking up the wrong tree. Or visiting the wrong classroom.
    In a tough economy, taking continuing education courses can make you a better job candidate. The National Bureau of Labor says that the more education you have, the more likely you’ll be hired. Most of those that choose to go back to school are female, according to the U.S. Department of Education, but men are enrolling more frequently.
    Going back to school can teach you job skills and a whole lot more. It can teach you to soar — or to start a new business where you do the hiring.
    Your class list is endless, from art to zumba.
    Read on, sign up and learn a new trick or two.

Consider College

    Local colleges aren’t just for fulltime college kids anymore. Students over the age of 25 make up 47 percent of the student body in college campuses across the U.S., according to the Association for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education.
    Community colleges have always broken the age — along with the cost — barrier.
    At both Anne Arundel Community College and College of Southern Maryland, you can sign up for continuing education courses that can help you get a better job, explore a deep creative passion or find a new career path.
    Learn to navigate computers with confidence with IT courses, programming classes and basic skills labs. Cook a gourmet meal in a food demonstration classes. Join the wine academy to learn about how to pair vintages with food. Project to the balconies at a theater class. Prepare for a foreign vacation with a language class; or lead a tour of foreign lands after your class in tour directing. Become a better parent at a family-skills course. Read great books and join the ages-old dialogue of minds. Learn to shape stories and find publishers in a writing course. Find out how to fix your finances at a budgeting class. Discover what makes a beautiful flower arrangement at a floriculture class. And much more.
    Continuing education courses are the best bargain in town, with seniors paying even less, despite Anne Arundel Community College’s increase this semester.
    Enroll:
• Anne Arundel Community College: www.aacc.edu/coned/
• College of Southern Maryland: www.csmd.edu/Community
Education/index.html
• St. John’s College: www.sjca.edu

Expose Yourself to Art

    You don’t need to starve to be an artist. Taking a class is a sensible alternative, and you’ll have money left over for at least cup of coffee. But prices are higher at art centers than at community colleges or senior centers, with materials and model fees often adding an extra charge.
    Annmarie Garden, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and Chesapeake Arts Center all teach daylong or multi-day classes in arts, you from woodworking and sculpture to painting, potting, weaving, jewelry making, glasswork, beading, bookmaking in many clever variations.
    And much more.
    Enroll:
• Annmarie Garden: www.annmariegarden.org
• Chesapeake Arts Center: www.chesapeakearts.org
• Maryland Hall: www.mdhallarts.org/classes

Find Fun Ways to Stay Fit

    Slogging to a gym everyday can be tedious. It’s more fun to take a class that keeps you active while teaching you a new skill. Sign up for ethnic dance courses at Maryland Hall, ballet and modern dance at Studio 180 or Annapolis Traditional Dance Society, for contra dancing. Fans of Dancing with the Stars learn the basics of ballroom from the Davidsonville Dance Club. Find inner peace while stretching and toning your muscles at a yoga class.
    Or return to the fun of team sports at county recreational sports league to play baseball, basketball, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, volleyball, kickball and more.
    And much more.
    Enroll:
• Anne Arundel County: www.aacounty.org/RecParks/sports/team_schedules.cfm
• Annapolis Traditional Dance Society: www.contradancers.com/atds
• Body Balance Yoga: www.bodybalanceyoga.com
• Calvert County:www.co.cal.md.us/residents/parks/special
• Davidsonville Dance Club: http://davidsonvilledanceclub.org
• Golden Heart Yoga: www.goldenheartyoga.com
• Maryland Hall: www.mdhallarts.org/classes
• Studio 180: www.studio180dance.com

Visit Your Library

    Libraries are a source of excellent education for all ages at a price you can’t beat: free. Sign up for a basic crochet or knitting class. Learn to hone your written words at workshops for poets and prose writers. Expand your knowledge of cinema and literature at reading group meetings and cinema café screenings. Drag yourself into the 21st century with basic computing classes and courses on downloading and using eBooks. Make yourself a marketable job candidate at resume writing consultations. Discover your more artistic side with photography, writing and crafting classes. And much more.
    Enroll:
• Anne Arundel County Library: www.aacpl.net
• Calvert County Library: http://calvert.lib.md.us.

Turn a Museum into Your Class Room

    Beyond storing art and artifacts, museums offer varied and enlightening classes. At Calvert Marine Museum, you can learn about ecological history of Maryland at monthly lectures featuring expert speakers. For a more hands-on approach to ecological learning, enroll in fossil field experience, where you’ll comb the beach at Calvert Cliffs with experts, searching for and identifying fossils.
    At art museums like Baltimore’s The Walters, learn how to create works in many of the media exhibited on the wall — tiling a mosaic, painting with watercolors or crafting elaborate jewelry.
    For a more natural curriculum, stop by a local wildlife refuge for a guided look at the nature around us. Seine rivers for aquatic life, help researchers compile data for wildlife surveys and meet native reptiles and mammals at nature classes. And much more.
    Enroll:
• Banneker-Douglass Museum: www.bdmuseum.com/bdm-events.html
• Calvert Marine Museum: www.calvertmarinemuseum.com
• Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary: www.jugbay.org
• Patuxent Research Refuge: www.fws.gov/northeast/patuxent/NTlocation.html
• Smithsonian Environmental Research Center: www.serc.si.edu
• The Walters Art Museum: thewalters.org.

Salute your Senior Status

    Being over 65 has its advantages when it comes to taking classes. If you’re retired, you’ll have more free time and if not, senior centers throughout Anne Arundel and Calvert County offer budget-friendly classes for seasoned members of society. Take a course on cooking to spice up your palate. Find out how to properly plan meals with a nutrition class. Help preserve artistic traditions by learning how to screen paint. Create garments at knitting and sewing classes. Discover the history of the region at lectures with experts. Shuffle up and deal at card games workshops. Find out if you have a talent for carving and painting duck decoys.
    Enroll:
• Anne Arundel County: www.aacounty.com/aging
• Calvert County: www.co.cal.md.us/residents/health/aging/

Immerse Yourself in an Internship

    The best way to discover and develop new skills is to immerse yourself in the new world. The way to open that door is to apply for an internship at a company you admire. Old and young dogs often welcome.
    Intern to learn all the skills it takes to put together a weekly paper: editor@bayweekly.com.