What is life like after retirement?

When asked what life is like after retirement, my response could take several hours. I won’t do that to you, but I will offer some brief comments.

I was fortunate to work in several institutions, serve on many committees and boards, organize conferences, publish articles, travel, teach, and share experiences with many wonderful colleagues and friends. The diversity of those experiences is the largest factor contributing to the satisfaction I feel with my professional life. Not everything was perfect, I admit. I made mistakes, but for the most part I think learned from them. My colleagues are the best judge of that.

I emphasize “diversity” of experience because the willingness to learn new skills and engage in new projects leads to new opportunities, and that is what makes for a lively career. It takes energy and time to go out of the box of your job description. To have any sort of life balance you need to be really organized and purposeful about it. I was fortunate to be in environments where it was OK to do that. Or maybe I just made it OK; not sure. In any case, I made a personal decision to get involved with professional organizations and found an added community of colleagues who contributed greatly to my growth.

That brings me to now. Because of my involvement in PACRAO and AACRAO, and the progression of my career, I was connected with folks who were brave enough to ask me to join AACRAO Consulting. Yes, that included Bob Bontrager. I worked on several consulting contracts around North America before retiring, and continue to do so now, on a part-time basis, as well as facilitate an online AACRAO class. I am glad to be a part of AACRAO Consulting. I continue to serve our higher education community and I continue to learn as I visit a wide variety of colleges and universities. (Go to AACRAO’s website and check it out. )

Some folks wonder why a person would want to continue working after retirement from “the day job”. I know quite a few folks who do, in one way or another. Some of my colleagues do stints as interim directors or deans or VPs. Some set up their own consulting businesses. Others do volunteer work related to educational services. My sense is that we feel that we still have knowledge and skills to offer and are not quite willing to let that go dormant….yet.

So, with consulting, travel to a variety of places on our planet, time with family and friends, and volunteer work, I am pretty well occupied. I will end with a thank you to mentors who supported me: Richard Riehl, Arnaldo Rodriguez, Bill Lindemann, Rich Haldi, Charlie Earl, and colleagues too numerous to name from AACRAO and PACRAO – but I think they know who they are. I urge you, PACRAO members, to expand, learn and contribute even beyond your job description. When your turn comes to retire, you will feel good about it, and ready for some new adventures.

Christine Kerlin
Senior Consultant, AACRAO


During Dr. Christine Kerlin’s accomplished career, she has established herself as a nationally recognized leader and expert in the field of enrollment management within the community college system. As such, she has a wealth of knowledge and experience in strategic planning, outreach and recruitment strategies, admission and registration processes, articulation practices and inter-institutional partnerships, credential evaluation, international admission and advising, and student services. She also has authored chapters in a variety of AACRAO publications and continues to present regularly at national and regional conferences.
She was formerly the Vice President for the University Center and Strategic Planning at Everett Community College. Preceding her time at Everett Community College, Dr. Kerlin was the Director of Admissions and Records at Central Oregon Community College, as well as the Director of Admissions at The Evergreen State College. She calls on her first-hand experiences at these institutions of higher learning as an AACRAO Senior Consultant.

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