I often get asked by mature students ‘What is it like living in university accommodation?’ I find this question really hard to answer as I never lived on campus, but rented a house privately whilst I was at university. So to answer all of those queries, I recently interviewed James Wimhurst, the University of Worcester Accommodation Ambassador (also a mature student at the university). Check out the interview to find out all about living in halls as a mature student.
Name: James Wimhurst
Where do you come from? Stafford
What course are you studying? Sports Therapy.
Role: Accommodation Resident Ambassador – I loved the halls experience so much and really appreciated the level of support and structure on offer that I wanted to give something back to new students! I will understand what they are going through and how they might be feeling, so I am hoping to support the new students through their transition.
How did you choose the University of Worcester?
I chose the University of Worcester because it is one of the top sports universities, but it also had the advantage of being set in beautiful countryside with lots of opportunities for training.
How did you make the decision to live in halls instead of a shared house?
Well, renting a property privately works out more expensive once you start adding on the extras like gas, electric and council tax. I knew the price of halls included everything, so I wouldn’t have any extra costs to worry about. But the main reason was that I wanted the experience of living in halls – I didn’t want to feel like I had missed out on any aspect of the university experience.
What attracted you most to staying in halls?
Again, it was really so that I could get the full university experience. A lot of my friends had said that it is a once in a lifetime experience and I can agree with that. I have also made many lifelong friends and feel that staying in halls really helped with that process.
What was the best thing about staying in halls?
Can I pick more than one? I have a few. My top 3 are:
- Safety – there is 24-hour security and always someone to contact if there was a problem
- How close the halls are to lectures- you can get up 10 minutes before the start of a lecture and still get there on time!
- Making friends – it was impossible not to make friends
Did you find there were other mature students staying in halls?
Yes. And they chose to live in halls for the same reasons as me and are enjoying it just as much!
How easy did you find the integration with other students and making friends?
It wasn’t easy at first. I was in the minority being a mature student, so I felt conscious of that. But I have made some great friends and really got involved in university life. Being older became a good thing as I could relate to a lot of experiences the younger students were going through and I was able to support them which also helped me to make stronger friendships! There may be an age difference, but no one even notices it now.
Was there a downside to living in halls as a mature student?
I did feel at first that I was being judged, but as soon as I got to know everyone this feeling disappeared, everyone relaxed and I really enjoyed the whole experience. I found I needed to be more relaxed about housekeeping issues like washing up and lower my expectations.
My top tip would be to be realistic. Embrace the experience and enjoy it. Expect to make some sacrifices and this will enable you to enjoy the experience more. I did and I loved it so much I am going to be staying in halls for a second year as the residential ambassador and I can’t wait!
If you’re a mature student looking to live in university accommodation, why don’t you have a look at what we can offer you.