I’ve just reached the last year of my studies as a mature student and it got me thinking about how different it has been this time, compared to the first time around. Here are a few things I’ve noticed being a mature student.
The old grey matter is not what it used to be
I have to be honest with you. Somedays I can’t remember my own name, let alone the latest concept I’ve been learning. I’ve tried to learn to “wing it” by having a notepad with me at all times. Although, sometimes by the time I come to write it down, I’ve flipping forgotten what I was about to jot down!
You need to get organised from the outset
You will probably have way more commitments. This means that time management is key. It’s so easy to forget to write down a deadline or misjudge your ability to fulfil a deadline and it gets out of control! Get organised as early as you can. Buy an academic diary, create a bullet journal, or use your phone calendar, whatever works for you. Just make sure you write down every deadline, every work commitment, every social commitment and every birthday, so it’s right there in front of you. I use different coloured highlighters for different deadlines, so I can easily see at a glance what is coming up.
You feel guilty
Chances are going back to study later on in life will mean you have to combine working and/or childcare and studying. This can be tough if your friends aren’t studying too. There will be times, unfortunately, when you have to say no to things you really want to do. I think you also have to take into consideration the impact on your partner. Suddenly, we went from having the weekends to ourselves, to me having to study at the weekend. This led to me feeling guilty that I didn’t have time for Dan anymore and him feeling bored and that he wasn’t my priority. It took time for us to reach a compromise whereby I would study and Dan would do his thing and then we would have the evenings to ourselves.
Making friends as a mature student can be difficult
When I moved to London to study I was living in halls of residence. During my first week, I suddenly realised that I was actually old enough to be the mum of the undergraduates *cringe*. Thankfully, I was on a postgraduate course and we had a huge mix of ages. However, back in halls when friendships started to break down after Christmas, I realised I perhaps didn’t fit in as well being much older. Cue an advert on TV for EHarmony, I thought it might be nice to meet people my own age. Fast forward and that advert resulted in me meeting Dan, so every cloud and all that.
Studying appears more expensive now
I love Martin Lewis for his idea of graduate tax rather than student loan concept. I know it’s “cost” me more this time to go back to uni, but I am not sure how much that will hurt my purse in later years. The two student loans I’ve taken out get combined so that only one amount gets deducted from my salary if I earn above a certain amount. Maybe this needs to be an update when I’m fully back into earning a full salary.
I would love to hear your thoughts!
Lots of love,