Being a mature student is often a new experience and, when we start anything new, we make mistakes.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are many benefits of being a mature student.
For a start, you usually get to live in your own house and not in student accommodation with housemates nicking your last bit of milk from the fridge.
It can still be a nerve-wracking time though, especially if you’ve been working since you left school and are now going back to a learning environment for the first time in possibly decades.
Students of all ages make mistakes but here are some mistakes mature students will make at university.
MATURE STUDENTS AND IMPOSTER SYNDROME
Ah, good old imposter syndrome. The curse of the self-conscious.
Many mature students feel they shouldn’t be at university, especially if they haven’t done a degree before, or if they left school without any qualifications.
Imposter syndrome leaves the mature student doubting if they’re good enough to be at university. Common worries are:
- Will they be laughed at by the younger students?
- Is their brain still wired for learning?
- Has ‘old age’ impaired their memory?
In answer to the above:
- Yes, you’re good enough;
- No, you won’t get laughed at;
- Yes, your brain is still wired for learning; and
- although memory problems are exacerbated as we get older, just keep eating lots of vegetables and taking lots of notes and you’ll be fine.
MATURE STUDENTS THINK THEY ARE TOO OLD TO GET INVOLVED IN EVENTS
Like the above, mature students can get self-conscious and think they’re too old to be doing the stuff the younger ones are doing so they simply scurry off straight home after seminars.
If there’s stuff you fancy doing, do it. Trust us, the youngsters won’t give a toss about your age and they’ll welcome you along to whatever it is they’re doing.
You might not fancy going clubbing and downing shots all night but if there’s an event you see advertised that sounds fun, get signed up and enjoy yourself.
If you do fancy going clubbing and downing shots all night, then fair play to you! Be warned though, if you thought hangovers were bad enough when you were 20, they’re even worse when you’re 40.
But let’s face it: if you’re a student living in Southampton, London, Liverpool or other big city, there’s no point letting all that entertainment go to waste.
Get out there and enjoy yourself.
MATURE STUDENTS BUY EVERYTHING ON THE READING LIST
Yes, reading lists are a fantastic excuse to buy books. We’re not going to disagree with that.
But a lot of the books on the reading list will be a) boring; b) barely used; and c) expensive.
Don’t buy everything on the reading list – find out which are the core texts you’ll be studying and buy those and, as for the others, borrow them from the library (either the one on campus or a local one) or buy them second-hand.
Top tip: if you have an Oxfam Bookshop near you, they’re a fantastic source of the classics if you’re doing a literature degree).
ALL STUDENTS LEAVE ASSIGNMENTS TO THE LAST MINUTE
We’re not saying mature students are more prone to procrastination than the youngsters. In fact, pulling all-nighters is probably something a younger student is more likely to do than a mature one.
But mature students usually have more going on at home than the younger ones who are living in student accommodation.
There might be partners, children and pets to look after and organise, then there’s all the household chores, family emergencies and everything else that can get in the way of study time.
This often leaves assignments being left until the last minute. Writing a 2000 word essay fuelled by coffee and adrenaline as the deadline looms works for a lot of people but it’s a nerve-wracking way to do it for sure.
Try not to leave assignments until the last minute and you’ll feel much calmer and in control.
Everyone, not just mature students, makes mistakes at university. With a bit of forward planning and faith in yourself though, your time at university will be a pleasurable one.
Thank you so much for reading! – xo N