Since graduating from uni as a mature student, I often reflect on my decision to return to education. I was worried that I wouldn’t gain as much from the experience as I would have if I had gone at the ‘right time’. I couldn’t have been more wrong!!!
Here’s what I’ve discovered as a mature student…
- Still being able to socialise…sensibly.
Enjoying the odd social, but going home before things get too messy, knowing when to stop and still being bright for a 9 am lecture the next day.
- Being more focussed on the academic side is no bad thing.
When I started uni, the most important thing to me was to achieve. This would not have been my focus at 18.
Although I would have still gained a lot from it, I definitely would not have graduated with first class honours, something which I am very proud of and I get to keep forever.
- Living in the suburbs not the city.
I lived a 10-minute cycle or 5-minute cab ride from the action but was also able to enjoy a house and garden to live in with my family, rather than just one room.
I may have missed out on some socialising, but I did get to enjoy a lot of peace and quiet when I needed to study or rest.
- Being organised means, you don’t end up tearing out your hair on deadline days.
I was very organised with my time. I received my module guides at the beginning of the semester and immediately made a planner of hand in dates, weekly reading time and set aside days and evenings for assignment writing.
Even factoring in ‘play time’ with the children, potential mishaps such as ‘sick time’ and ‘me’ time. This enabled a great work/play balance and meant I often handed in assignments early rather than pulling all-nighters the week before assignment deadlines.
- Budgeting experience means you don’t run out of money 2 months before your next student loan payment is due to.
I sympathised with students who ate beans on toast for 2 months and had to call their parents for an advance. I knew this was not an option for me.
Luckily my independence also meant I had good budgeting skills. I divided my annual student loan entitled by 12, put the loan into a savings account and then transferred a set amount each month.
Living on a strict budget meant the treats came when I won an academic scholarship award and I was able to go on holiday.
It’s never too late to start a degree. I was a mature student and I have no regrets. Good luck, everyone!