Returning to uni as a mature student Watch

FigWatkins
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Hi I'm new to this site and wanted to get other people's opinion on university life as a mature student.

I'm not too worried about the academic side of things despite not being in education for 10 years but what do people think about the social aspect?

I'm nearly 30 so will be quite a bit older than most students. This might not necessarily be a problem but I think I would feel more comfortable if there are people close to my age to live and/or socialise with in addition to the typical 18, 19 year olds.

I guess I have a bit of a concern of 'standing out' as an older student. I may study close to home in which case I will probably live with my Dad so that would resolve the living arrangement at least.

Any thoughts from current and former students would be welcome.

Au revoir,

Fig
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Klix88
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I was 44 when I started my undergrad degree. It took the first year for my younger colleagues to get used to me and I'll admit to being a bit lonely. However they did get used to me and by the start of the second year I was included in the banter the same as everyone else.

As far as socialising goes, I did go to lunch in the student bar and pub quizzes, plus I used to get invitied round to a student house for movie & pizza nights. There was no way I'd want to go clubbing with them but some of my older colleagues in their thirties certainly did and they had a whale of a time.

Basically just be open and friendly - the school leaver cohort will eventually realise that you're not there to judge them, pretend you're better than them, tell them off or act like their parent!
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Enigma1984
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I'm 29 and just finished first year. I think it's fair to say you have a different experience as a mature student than the 18 year old's do. I've really enjoyed my first year though.

To be honest I have my own mates, and I wasn't really that bothered about getting involved with the social scene at uni that much. But I definitely could have if I wanted, people are always having parties or whatever and saying "just drop by". Most uni's will also have a mature students society or something you can join if you want to meet other older students.

I've found that age doesn't make as much difference as I thought it would have. Before I started I was worried about being a bit different and standing out but really it hasn't been like that at all. Most of the students seem to be keen to treat you as an equal and if you're alright with them then they will be ok with you. Plus there are so many international students and other older students around that your particular "difference" probably won't stand out as much as you think it will anyway!
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kevinbarry
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(Original post by FigWatkins)
Hi I'm new to this site and wanted to get other people's opinion on university life as a mature student.

I'm not too worried about the academic side of things despite not being in education for 10 years but what do people think about the social aspect?

Fig
I had worked for five years before starting A levels so I had been seven years out. I had no problems fitting in and was by no means the oldest around. About ten years later I did a PhD and was still not the oldest! So go ahead and enjoy the experience.

One more thing. It might help to read the chapter "Advice for Mature Students" in the free book You Too Can Study More Easily: Tips for Dummies and Others". Download it from www.keweipress.com

Good luck at uni!
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1201261
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Don't worry! There are so many mature students in every individual universities', and you would be surprised that when you start, you will see elder mature students everywhere! I felt exactly the same as you - although I am 21, but potential students who will be in my class at uni are around 18-19 years of age, and I feel like I am the odd one out - but they have reassured me that we are all individual and the same, regardless (and it helps I look quite young for my age, too!) Again, I do worry about being lonely, but I am sure there are lovely students who are happy to help and get involved, regardless of age because as being a uni student, they have to become wise, mature and grown up to be dedicated to their education. It's nothing like how school or college would be! Good luck!
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WBTroglodyte
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Hey Fig, I went back at 29 - just want to add to the chorus that you'll likely be pleasantly surprised. Made some good friends ten years my junior - you may find a certain degree of irritation here and there but in the main people tend to be decent. As others said, don't pull the wise old veteran routine and you'll be grand. Enjoy it, it's over before you know!
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Klix88
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(Original post by WBTroglodyte)
you may find a certain degree of irritation here and there but in the main people tend to be decent.
Worth saying that I've found this to be true throughout my working life - with people my age and older as well. There are aggravating people and situations wherever you find yourself in life and I haven't found uni worse than anywhere else - to be honest, it's been much better in that respect.

At least in uni, you're in a community where hundreds/thousands of you are working towards the same type of goal. Plus there's nothing like a tight hand-in deadline or a complex coursework brief, to give people of all ages some common ground.
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