'Doc' back on campus and out of the house

Seth Hochwald is doing his very best to help me learn the C++ computer programming language at Irvine Valley College.

What this means in terms of computers is not so important. What is important is that my wife decided that I was spending too much time home and that I should get out and do "something for fun."

I am a great advocate of "keeping the neurons happy and the synapses snapping," so I looked at the Irvine Valley College Fall catalog. Under Computer Science I found a full semester course called C++ programming. It meets twice a week for an hour and a half for sixteen weeks.

Okay, I said, this could be fun. It had a prerequisite, the conditions of which I was sure I could meet. Off I went to IVC's modern main campus in Irvine to register.

I haven't been on a college campus for some time now, even though I teach at the Sailing Academy of Orange Coast College.

The first thing you notice is that there are long lines for everything. Second, you don't find many gray haired students. My first experience with Admissions and Records was filling out a form applying for enrollment. One portion of the form asks why I want to enroll. It has a number of choices, none of which say "for the h--l of it," or "continuing education." I guess they just aren't expecting any of us more mature students taking classes just because we want to. The nice lady behind the counter told me to select "transferring to a four year college." That's fine, but with graduate degrees, I don't expect I will be transferring to another college.

Next she sent me upstairs to get my Assessment form to clear the prerequisite for the course. Back down to A&R with the form. I had signed up for my class and paid online but still had to go to the Bursar to pick up my parking permit. Back upstairs for a photo-ID. Finally I was enrolled. Now I can purchase software at student discounts.

My first class meeting was August 23. But first, the major campus hurdle; finding a parking space. Fortunately I found a space where I could still see the campus. After a rather long walk, I got to our classroom. There were over twenty of us in the class; one person probably in her mid-thirties, twenty or so others seemingly in their teens, and me. Fortunately I fit into the little desk-chair combination. You remember them, don't you? I had freshly sharpened number two pencils and a new notebook. I was ready to learn.

If I seem to be making fun of this experience, it's because I have found it amusing. Actually, the class is excellent and made interesting by a very good instructor. The point of this rather long narrative is that Irvine Valley College, and the other area community colleges, offers a wide range of excellent courses at a serious, college level. Many of these classes also are offered in the late afternoon or early evening and would be just the thing for anyone who wants to expand their horizons, as well as get out of the house. While IVC has an excellent Emeritus program, the more serious courses probably are offered in the regular curriculum. Geology of California, Introduction to Physical Anthropology, and a couple of courses in Astronomy look interesting, as do many others.

The full curriculum and enrollment information for IVC can be obtained online at It's well worth browsing. You may find a whole new life.

If you would like to hear more about my experiences at Irvine Valley College, or other computer topics, visit 'Coffee and Computers' at the Tustin Area Senior Center, 200 S. 'C' Street, any Friday morning starting at 9 a.m. Bring your questions or just come in and visit.

In the mean time, keep the neurons happy, synapses snapping and enjoy computing.

Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at:

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