Senior Beat
by Carol Higgins Taylor
Special to The Weekly

The kids are back at school. I see them every morning on my way to work, sporting shiny new backpacks and waiting for the bus. School can be fun but full of stress, what with tests and peer pressure.

Taking a course at the Penobscot Valley Senior College gives you all the joy of learning without that added stress because PVSC is all about personal growth and fulfillment. In fact, their motto is “Learning for the fun of it.”

There are no entrance exams and no academic requirements, and no test at the end

of the course. The only actual requirement is that you are 50 or older.

Affiliated with the University of Maine Center on Aging and the Maine Senior College Network, PVSC is one of more than a dozen senior colleges scattered throughout the state. The annual membership fee is $25 per individual and $40 for two people living at the same address. Membership affords many benefits, such as advance notice of courses, invitations to free one-day programs, a free annual meeting luncheon with a guest speaker and the ability to enroll in other senior colleges’ classes. Bargains like that are rare these days.

The fall semester runs Fridays, from Sept. 26 to Oct. 31. An art class runs on Thursdays, from Sept. 25 to Oct. 30. Each class is two hours long and held either mornings or afternoons at the UMaine campus in Orono or University College in Bangor, but there are a couple of exceptions so watch your catalog.

So just what will your $30 per course tuition get you? The brochure can answer that question fully, but here is a sampling of the variety of topics:

• The Birds and the Bees and More. Note that this is the only seven-week class. Creatures small in size but large in importance will be the focus of this class. You’ll learn about bees, those vital pollinators, and birds, and bats, the mostly unseen pest control heroes now under threat. You’ll also explore insects’ role in gardens, the lives of frogs, toads, salamanders, and turtles.

• Maine Law. This course will review Maine law as it applies to senior citizens, including estates and trusts, Medicare look-back, guardianships, real estate, employment, and criminal and negligence (tort). It will also discuss voter registration and U.S. Supreme Court cases.

• Spanish for Beginners. Have you always thought it would be fun to learn some Spanish? This interactive class, designed for learners with little or no language experience, may be just what you want. Learn some basic phrases, but the focus of the class will be on listening comprehension.

• Shakespeare from Page to Stage. The class will read five plays, one a week after the introductory session. Learn how the plays work as dramatic literature. You’ll also examine scenes from staged and filmed versions of these plays. Various types of plays will be considered, including comedies, tragedies and histories.

• Personal Development and Deepening Personal Relationships. This course will focus on compassionately transforming individual lives, personal relationships and society, by developing true experiential self-understanding. Discussion includes liberating self-transformation, healing emotional pain and inner conflict, and developing inner peace, happiness, creativity and spiritual awareness, communication, and how to extend these principles to transform local communities and global society for the better.

• Learn to Paint with Watercolors. Each class will focus on different elements that result in a finished piece every week. Students are responsible for their own supplies.

This is brief sampling of the offerings from PVSC. The other courses are just as interesting, so for more information on senior college and the classes offered, go to and click on Senior College, or call the message phone at 992-0118. Registration deadline is Friday, Sept. 19.

Carol Higgins Taylor is an advocate for seniors and owns a public relations firm in

Bangor. Email her at