Being labelled as a ‘mature’ student from the get-go when starting university did not help to quell my pre-uni nerves. I had visions of fresh-faced eighteen year-olds fleeing from me, a somewhat older twenty five year-old, in the corridors while screaming in terror.
This, of course, was not the case. In fact, when I mentioned my upcoming birthday to some members of my course and divulged how old I was going to be (shock horror!), they barely batted an eyelid.
Your age at university is about as important as what you had for tea the night before. It’s sometimes interesting to talk to someone about, but not at all relevant.
Here are my tips for getting over that initial worry and making the most of your time as a ‘mature’ (physically but certainly not mentally in my case!) student:
1. Get involved
Don’t hold back from societies or mixers (or even making eye contact) because you think you’ll stick out like a sore thumb – in fact, you’ll meet people just like yourself!
Age is literally just a number and, breaking news, no one actually cares! You may find just what you’re looking for hiding away in one of the many societies available to join on campus.
2. Part time jobs are a lifesaver
Going from a full-time job with weekly pay to a student loan every four months was not the easiest of changes. I put off even looking for a job until I’d eaten away at far more of my uni budget than I’d meant to (Student Discounts *shakes fist*) and I have already started applying for when I’m back in September. Even if you find yourself a zero hour/casual contract somewhere, it’s a little extra money in your pocket for ‘uni supplies’ *wink wink, nudge nudge*…
3. Take advantage of all the resources
Having been out of schooling for so long, I was terrified that I simply wouldn’t be able to keep up with the work load or other students. As soon as my first week was over, I felt completely different!
There is so much help available from lecturers, personal tutors and fellow students alike. Everyone is there to help you, and while some core modules might seem a little dull at first, they’re all there to help you get the best degree possible. Take advantage of the comfy couches in Centro or the isolation desks in the library.
I made the mistake of thinking I’d get stuff done from the comfort of my own bed – I was napping within 2 minutes of my head hitting the pillow, so I wouldn’t recommend it! You may want to rush off and get home after sessions have finished but spend an hour or two every so often working away at assignments – it’ll help keep stress at bay when those annoying assignment due dates roll around.
These are just a few of the things I found helped me when it came to navigating university life as a ‘mature’ student. The biggest lesson being – enjoy yourself!
Students of all ages study at Cardiff Met. Check out more blog posts from our mature students.