As a mature student who had the crazy idea of applying to university, I wish I knew then what I know now. Here is my story and tips to hopefully help you with the highs and lows of study.
Deciding to apply to university always has a story behind it, it doesn’t matter who you are.
”My parents wanted me to go”
”I really want to be the best photographer I can”
”Without university, I cannot be the registered health professional I want to be”
Yet – if you ask a mature student, the answer will be totally different.
After a painful breakup and subsequently realising I wasn’t now likely to have enough children to start my own Vontrapp family, something needed to distract me. So, I decided to be a dietitian – and what a ride it’s been!
As a recent graduate, I feel I would like to share what I have learnt about life on the way. Who would have thought a forty something single parent to twins would be saying ”I’ve learnt so much about myself?” Let’s face it, at eighteen years old, I would have laughed at forty-year old me for not having it already figured out.
My Tips and Advice
Study at a time that is best for all of you.
Family needs are important, yet so are your studies. Working in silence is best for me and I was often unable to sleep much past 4:30am because I was always worried about missing my train. So I decided to get up at this time of the morning and start watching YouTube videos on my subject. I’d make myself a fluffy coffee and light some candles – this way, I really enjoyed my early morning study!
Ask for help.
Within the university, there will be wellbeing advisors, counselling and needs assessors to help you with any overwhelm, special assistance, extra times in exams or even software which might help you. Try typing into the university search bar ”wellbeing” and see what is on offer.
Some universities use peer mentoring services. Use this! To ask a student how they log into a portal, or who to go to in the library for your specific subject is more valuable than you can imagine!
Find a way that works for you.
Everyone learns in different ways, however if I tell you what worked for me it might give you some ideas.
Typing into YouTube was incredible. I am a visual learner and love being able to listen and see at the same time. You’ll be amazed what you find on this platform! After getting a basic understanding under belt, I started to delve deeper and eventually ended up using Mendeley, where I would search for academic research papers on my topic.
All the tough love out of the way, I’ll now say this: Enjoy yourself! Embrace the journey, the good and the bad. You will likely come out of university a different person to the one you started as. I can promise you, you will be chuffed to bits with yourself the day you hear them call out your name at graduation and receive that handshake!