I came to university after completing an Access course at college. I had done my A-Levels when I was younger, at which time I decided to take a year out to save money before university. That year turned into many as life took over and bills had to be paid. Many people have asked me, since returning to education, whether I regret not going to uni when I was younger. I can honestly say that I don’t. At 18 years old I was not confident or assertive in anyway, I was not sure what I wanted to do and certainly not prepared for the amount of work involved in university life – if you want to put your all into it. As a mature student I am not distracted by the nightlife (I did all of that in my 20’s) although I do enjoy meals out in Liverpool’s many fantastic restaurants! I’m more aware of why I am here (at uni, I’m not being philosophical) and what I want from it. At times being a mature student can be difficult. I didn’t expect to “fit in” and had resigned myself to a relatively solitary experience, however this is not the case. I very quickly found people that I could relate to: most of the time this is only with regard to books but that’s the whole point for me. There is also a mature student LSU group that meet up regularly, which you can join.
It’s sometimes difficult to fit everything in around family life too, and I don’t have children, but the key is to get organised. A wall planner for me is essential, I have to be able to see my weeks ahead so that I can forward plan. In the first few weeks there were times when I doubted myself, whether uni life was right for me, whether I was good enough for the course, but these are natural wobbles. By Christmas I was completely settled and going from strength to strength. As a mature student you have experience and abilities that the younger students don’t have and your input is just as important and relevant. University is not just for the young (someone actually said that to me once), it is for anyone who wants to get ahead and improve their mind, their possibilities, their future – don’t let anyone put you off. There may be times that you feel old but remember that with age comes wisdom – think of Yoda or Gandalf.
Lynne & T.E.A