"Don't just sit there and worry!"
December 4, 2020
Like most King’s students, Ron Robert has had to adjust to studying at King’s while it is a largely virtual campus. Robert, 83, enrolled in a three-year Bachelor of Arts with a Political Science Major, says he is “doing all right,” despite the changes.
Robert enrolled at King’s after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2016. After his diagnosis, Robert says he set out to find ways to deal with Alzheimer’s which led him to decide to go to university. He knew he had to keep his brain stimulated to fight the effects of the disease. At the same time, Robert became a national spokesperson for the Alzheimer Society of Canada.
Robert admits studying via the Internet gets confusing at times and has the same technical issues that sometimes plague other students, but he says “I am coming along. I am on the computer more and more. I need more time writing and I do get distracted. But I fight my way through.”
He has some advice for other students working remotely. “Just hang in there. If you have a problem, go ask someone. Don’t just sit there and worry. There is a lot of help at King’s, I find,” he says. Robert says he has received a lot of help from Accessibility Services as he navigates this “New Normal” when it comes to his education. “Don’t just stew over your problems. Get on the phone or computer. Talk to all the good advisors (King’s has). The professors have been excellent (about helping students),” he says.
Robert says one thing he misses the most is interacting with other students. “They’re a big part of the university experience. Being with young people has been fun,” he says.
During the Fall 2020 term, Robert is taking courses in Political Science (Political Science 2245E Comparative Politics) and Disability Studies (Disability Studies 2214a – Institutionalization Over Time). “These are really engaging courses,” he says.
Before enrolling as a mature student at King’s, Robert had worked as a political reporter in Saskatchewan and Alberta. He then moved to Ottawa and eventually worked for Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s office on the “Western desk” (dealing with issues concerning Canada’s western provinces). Because of his background, he is especially enjoying taking the Comparative Politics course.
“Because I spent a lot of time in politics, I am finding taking the course is helping with Alzheimer’s, as it triggers memories. It’s been very helpful,” Robert says. He is also enjoying his Disability Studies course. “I’ve always had an interest in the social sciences,” he adds.
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