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.
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!
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!
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!