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    I dont think it's pathetic at all, I think it's the same concern that any mature student would have, I know it's one of the things I'm terrified about. I suspect (and hope, because then it'll be the same for me) that yes, there probably will be a number of over-excited stereotype 18-year-old freshers getting their first taste of freedom and being annoying about it. However there will also be 18 year olds who are just as easy to get on with as your peers and arer perfectly mature etc. Dont forget as well that there's likely to be a significant number of other mature students if you're really struggling.

    As for the people who's saying there's not much of a gap - there's a huge gap. I'm 24 and I'd not spent any time with anyone younger than me ever really. In the last 6 months or so I've been volunteering for SJA and I've met some first year students who are part of the SJA Society. They are genuinely really really lovely girls and I get on with them perfectly well but there's an obvious gap in terms of life experience, how they see the world, intentions for learning etc but then I'm not saying that I dont think 24/25 year olds would seem just as immature to someone who is, say, 40.

    I'm worried about it because my friends have always been older. I have very few friends in their 20s, almost everyone I know is over 30 so it's going to be a bit of a shock for me - the thing I'm trying to remember is that I dont have to be their best friend, I just have to get on with them well enough for the course to be bearable and I'm more than confident that I can do that!

    Stop being terrified. I've gone from being youngest, studying with people up to twice my age, to being up to twice as older as my fellow students. Even after finishing studying I still have friends who are half my age and friends who are now retired. Strangely enough when I invite them to a party, they usually all get on, even if the only thing they have in common is knowing me. I learn from them and they have learnt stuff from me, despite our different life experiences. But I am open to getting on with people, I don't mind if they don't share the same life experience and I don't assume that my life experience is superior to anyone else's, it is just different.

    Even if you have people the same age, those who come from overseas or have travelled more widely may have a significantly different outlook than someone who has lived in the same place the entire time and then gone to work for some years. Just don't fall into the trap of thinking that everyone else knows so much more, they just might be better at putting on a confident front.

    Anyway, make your return to study easier by actually preparing to study. Get the reading list, find out what text books will be used on the course. You may be able to borrow them from the library or buy them cheaply second hand on eBay or amazon. Don't just get the books, read them. Anything you don't understand, make a note of it and ask when you get to that part on the course. Once you have the timetable, find out where your classes are and aim to arrive 10 minutes early. Checking you are in the right place with a fellow student is an easy ice breaker.
How are you feeling about your exams?

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