The advantages of being a mature student
Although I don’t feel like one, coming back to university at the ripe old age of 23 has made me a certified mature student, and it’s definitely been a completely different experience to my last degree.
Having fully settled in, I thought I’d make a blog about how exactly things have been brilliant, and see if I can persuade anyone who might be considering being a mature student themselves!
1) You’re not alone!
I can’t count the number of times I’ve spoken to someone about how I’ve returned to uni and had the reply “wow I wish I could do that but I think I’m too old” and I’m here to tell you that that is absolute nonsense. While a lot of my cohort are younger, more optimistic and generally fresher faced than myself, the current ratio of mature students to disturbingly baby-faced 18 year olds is about 50:50. In fact, I’m one of the younger mature students, and I’m studying alongside some people in their 40s. While exact numbers will vary by degree, you’re definitely gonna be able to find people of a similar age if that’s what’s worrying you!
2) The young ones aren’t so bad
I have to admit that before coming back I was extremely apprehensive about going through the whole making friends thing again, especially with people who are younger than me. While 5 years doesn’t sound much older, when I thought about my previous degree and all the experience I had living away from home, and how stupid I really was at 18 I was definitely nervous about trying to get along with people at that phase in their life.
However, I currently live in university halls with ELEVEN 18 year olds and honestly they are all fantastic. University is really the great equaliser and although I sometimes feel out of date with their music tastes, age very quickly becomes unimportant and they’re now my closest friends. So best piece of advice I can give is at least give the younger students a chance!
3) You’re a hyper-focused student
Whether it’s a second degree or it’s your first time round, you’re most likely older, wiser and care a lot more about studying than you did at 18! I’m now that annoying person that asks questions in class, and I have my work-study balance on point in a way that I never had first time through university, and my grades and general health are so much better for it!
4) You (probably) won’t be swayed by the crowd
It’s a classic scene really, Freshers week and you’ve been dragged to a club that you weren’t really keen on but “everyone’s going” and you can’t miss out and now it’s 4am and it’s raining and you’re waiting for a taxi and just wishing you spent your night doing anything else. Good news is, you can! As a mature student, I’ve definitely realised I’m over the clubbing thing, and have found many other mature students who have the exact same idea. Now that I’m older and more confident, I’m much more comfortable just saying no to those club nights out when I’m not feeling them and no longer feel obligated to force myself to go! My wallet and liver are both extremely grateful.
5) it’s exciting!
Education is a gift, but it’s also a struggle. Those students coming straight out of sixth form often lose sight of the whole gift portion of the deal, taking a break from studying has made me appreciate it all so much more and it’s truly amazing to be learning again. University feels like a brand new exciting chapter in my life with a whole new cast of characters and I’m so grateful to be back, and I hope other mature students feel the same.
I’d like to say to any individual who is reading this and is thinking of taking the plunge, it’s honestly one of the best things I’ve ever done and I strongly encourage you to consider, even if my kitchen is a bit dirtier than I would like (but my housemates will learn eventually 😉)