Can I really work until I’m 70?

So my life as a full-time student is almost over, and I’ve been reflecting recently about the whole experience.

Shortly after I returned to study the government proposed to increase the pension age to 70, and I jokingly referred to this period of my life as the retirement I will never have. Sure I had to go to uni, but there were consecutive weeks where I wasn’t studying or wasn’t on placement and I couldn’t cope. Don’t tell Joe Hockey, and please remind me of this statement when I’m older and want to retire, but working until I’m 70 (or at least working part-time) now sounds like a wonderful thing to me.

I didn’t know how to cope with free-time. I can completely understand why people find the transition to retirement difficult.

In my old life I was busy all the time. I got up when it was dark – I got home late and could often be found getting around to eating dinner at 9/10 o’clock. I wasn’t used to unstructured free-time and I didn’t like it.

Sure, I had more time to play golf, which I loved, but overall I found that I just frittered my time away. My house should have been spotless, I should have got through my big long “to-do” list. I should have done my tax return, and I should have been super-fit, because in theory I had so much time for exercise.

Unfortunately none of those things happened. I developed sloth like tendencies. I slept in. I became addicted to Midsomer Murders which was on tv every afternoon (is that better or worse than being addicted to Ellen?), and I was the most unproductive I’ve ever been.

I realised that the only time I felt normal and re-energised again was when I was on placement.

Sadly I realised that I missed working. What I really missed was the structure and routine working gives you. I probably also missed people contact. I also became boring – even more boring than normal. This was confirmed to me by my sister; she reminded me every weekend when we caught-up for breakfast that my stories were far more interesting when I was working. And to a certain extent work defines who we are.

It’s all very well to say that we need to stop more and smell the roses, but I was like a statue – motionless in a park, watching the world go by.

So I now sympathise with people making the transition to retirement. Not working is hard!

I’m not sure that I can work until I’m 70, but for now I’m coming out of retirement and will hopefully start working again or at least volunteering in order to find a happier balance that includes work.

Life of uni student – Surviving day 1

Thoughts from day 1:

4.50am – Why is the radio on? Oh yeah, I want to try and get to the gym before uni this morning. Okay time to get up. Wish I had packed my bag the night before. What do I need to take for the gym again? Must remember clothes for after gym.

6am – It’s still dark!

7.15am – Okay this gym thing before uni might work. Still can’t believe I have to get up earlier to get to uni than what I did for work.

8.15am – Seriously ladies – how long does it take you to do your hair. Get out of my way – I need some mirror space.

8.20am – Am thinking I should take a “selfie” on my first day. After all, my friends all take photos of their kids on their first day of school.

8.30am – Do I have time to get to the library to borrow that microbiology textbook that was mentioned in the lecture notes?

8.31am – Ahh bugger, I was supposed to check where 9am lecture was.

8.40am – I think that boy on my tram is in my course – that’s good – I can follow him.

8.45am – Looks like I don’t have time for the library. Oh well, now I can follow tram boy to the lecture. And besides who else is going to be as dorky as me to go and borrow the book from the library – I’ll get it at lunch time.

Shortly after – what happened to tram boy?

8.50am – Nice girl from orientation recognises me on the street and says hello. We head off to where we think the lecture is.

Shortly after – we charge on into the lecture theatre – these people don’t look familiar – oh dear it’s not our class.

Shortly after – I approach a man on the street to ask him where Pelham St is. We head off with his instructions only to find he gave us the wrong info.

Shortly after – Google maps

Shortly after – no it’s not that building, no it’s not that building

9.05am – Walking, walking, finally we’ve found it, 5 minutes late – that’s not too bad. I grab the first available seat – it’s up the front. Great – looks like I’m matching the mature age stereotype

9.07am – oh no I can’t work the lecture theatre tables – someone helps me.

10am – my neck hurts from looking up at the screen from the front row

11am – Just spotted tram boy, but it’s not tram boy. It’s who I thought was on my tram, but he’s wearing different clothes. So obviously tram boy wasn’t studying nursing. Good thing I didn’t follow him.

Lecture 1 goes for 4 hours. But the time passes by okay, as there is a different speaker every hour. Associate Professor Jane Freemantle was a stand-out for her engaging presentation. There is a big focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. I wonder how our terrible history and even the current failings with Aboriginal health is seen by the international students completing the course.

12.20pm – The girl beside me is eating a box of Barbeque shapes. She’s really ploughing through them. I think she could have chosen something a bit quieter.

1pm – Lunch time

1.15pm – Library – On no I’ve spotted another nursing student at the reference desk – I bet she is after the same book as me. I’m sure with my expertise in libraries I’ll grab it first.

Shortly after – Bugger – should have written down the call number. Oh hello – there is the student from my course with a librarian showing her where the book is.

Shortly after – Duh – the book that was available this morning is now gone, plus the edition before that – I end up borrowing one that is almost 20 years old. I suppose nothing much has changed in the world of microbiology.

Next I ask the librarian for assistance with the other book. Also needed assistance with borrowing the books. #libraryfail

1.30pm – I’m starving. Ding, ding, ding – winner, winner, winner. How cheap are sandwiches here compared to work?

2pm – Okay I think the next lecture starts at 2.30 – I’m going to be early.

2.15pm – Okay I’m not early – lecture actually started at 2.15pm

2.45pm – Yikes science!

3pm – Okay – not even sure how to take notes about this stuff.

3.15pm – Maybe I’ll just list the stuff I don’t know anything about, and then that will prompt me to do some reading about that.

3.20pm – Um there’s too much I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just get a basic biology textbook to get me up to speed.

4pm – Thank God for the Haighs the Ashurst library team gave me a farewell present.

4.15 – Hello sunshine. Hello grass.

I take my selfie for Facebook.

4.30pm – I’ve discovered the City Library has Biology for Dummies on the shelf. Must go and see if I can borrow it.