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    I've gone back to uni in my 50s to study for a science degree after working as a teacher myself for years. While most of the modules are relevant and worthwhile there are aspects of it that I find to be quite humiliating and irrelevant for a more mature person- like team building exercises , CV writing and interview practice etc .Although I don’t mind sitting on the floor competing to build the highest tower out of a pack of cards I feel to go into university to do this at my age when I have extra financial obligations to cover and could be using my time more effectively is quite annoying. I understand the need for this type of thing for younger students in preparation for life skills but the one size fits all approach doesn’t work for mature students. This lack of differentiation I find very difficult.The teaching staff don’t get this and you become slightly alienated when you voice this The system is slightly at fault and mature students have to bare the brunt of this instead of being supported. What are others experiences as a mature student at uni?
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    (Original post by angelteabag)
    I've gone back to uni in my 50s to study for a science degree after working as a teacher myself for years. While most of the modules are relevant and worthwhile there are aspects of it that I find to be quite humiliating and irrelevant for a more mature person- like team building exercises , CV writing and interview practice etc .Although I don’t mind sitting on the floor competing to build the highest tower out of a pack of cards I feel to go into university to do this at my age when I have extra financial obligations to cover and could be using my time more effectively is quite annoying. I understand the need for this type of thing for younger students in preparation for life skills but the one size fits all approach doesn’t work for mature students. This lack of differentiation I find very difficult.The teaching staff don’t get this and you become slightly alienated when you voice this The system is slightly at fault and mature students have to bare the brunt of this instead of being supported. What are others experiences as a mature student at uni?
    Hey, I've just moved this to the mature students forum for you
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    (Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
    Hey, I've just moved this to the mature students forum for you
    Thank you so much
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    To be quite honest I don't have any problems with being a mature student. My age definitely gives me an advantage but I've certainly learnt new things from the other students too. I get on with everybody, have surprised myself by finding new perspectives on subjects I thought I had the answers to & am quite honestly having a brilliant time. I'm 47, by the way, & even if I've had to do something that seems geared to somebody much younger I don't feel humiliated - I just throw myself in & love the fact I can sometimes help anyone who's struggling. It's not so much a question of age as perhaps it is of attitude: keep a sense of humour & your eye on the end goal
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    Mature students do tend to be over-enthusiastic. It's quite funny becuase mature students get too enthusiastic to the point where their pedantry about everything and confidence about everything delays lessons/lectures excessively.

    On the other hand most normal aged students are not enthusiastic enough... Not doing their readings, missing lectures etc.

    I tend to roll my eyes at both quite frequently :P
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    Spoken by a bitter man who has nothing better to do than troll forums & lash out at all and sundry. Shame on you, you're not clever, just rather sad.
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    I found my first year a bit lonely. There was only one other mature student in my cohort, and TBH she was a bit of a pain (even by mature student standards!). The younger students didn't seem to know how to talk to me and were embarrassed when I tried to chat. But hey. For most, it was the first time they'd been in a sort-of social situation with someone their parents' age. Before that, 'those' people were bosses, teachers, parents etc, who were out to judge them and tell them what to do. I spent a year carefully making sure that I did no such thing. I heaved a sigh and joined Facebook at the end of that year, as it seemed to be how there were mainly communicating. Some of them were happy to chat online when they wouldn't in person. By the start of the second year I was part of the furniture and included in the chat and banter with everyone else.

    Yes, I asked far too many questions. Unfortunately I spent 20+ years in jobs where I was constantly having to learn new things on the fly, and I wouldn't have survived unless I kept asking questions. It's a habit which I suspect comes with age for many people. I also answered too many questions, as it irked me when a lecturer asked a question and the rest of the room just sat there blankly. It could descend into a time-wasting staring match when neither party would back down!

    As for being "too enthusiastic" - guilty as charged! But then I had a whale of a time and came out with a First plus twenty extra credits (admin error meant that some of us accidentally did one more unit than we should have in the second year).

    I certainly wasn't better than the younger students. Going in with the attitude that somehow mature students should be treated differently, is a hiding to nothing. In a standard uni, you're signing up to enter a largely 18-22 year old's world. Adapt and survive. Who knows - that process in itself might actually be fun and stretch you as a person? It's all part of the learning experience. I would've hated to come out the same type of person as I was when I started.

    Personally I loved the energy and enthusiasm of the environment - it rubs off if you let it!
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    (Original post by Klix88)
    I found my first year a bit lonely. There was only one other mature student in my cohort, and TBH she was a bit of a pain (even by mature student standards!). The younger students didn't seem to know how to talk to me and were embarrassed when I tried to chat. But hey. For most, it was the first time they'd been in a sort-of social situation with someone their parents' age. Before that, 'those' people were bosses, teachers, parents etc, who were out to judge them and tell them what to do. I spent a year carefully making sure that I did no such thing. I heaved a sigh and joined Facebook at the end of that year, as it seemed to be how there were mainly communicating. Some of them were happy to chat online when they wouldn't in person. By the start of the second year I was part of the furniture and included in the chat and banter with everyone else.

    Yes, I asked far too many questions. Unfortunately I spent 20+ years in jobs where I was constantly having to learn new things on the fly, and I wouldn't have survived unless I kept asking questions. It's a habit which I suspect comes with age for many people. I also answered too many questions, as it irked me when a lecturer asked a question and the rest of the room just sat there blankly. It could descend into a time-wasting staring match when neither party would back down!

    As for being "too enthusiastic" - guilty as charged! But then I had a whale of a time and came out with a First plus twenty extra credits (admin error meant that some of us accidentally did one more unit than we should have in the second year).

    I certainly wasn't better than the younger students. Going in with the attitude that somehow mature students should be treated differently, is a hiding to nothing. In a standard uni, you're signing up to enter a largely 18-22 year old's world. Adapt and survive. Who knows - that process in itself might actually be fun and stretch you as a person? It's all part of the learning experience. I would've hated to come out the same type of person as I was when I started.

    Personally I loved the energy and enthusiasm of the environment - it rubs off if you let it!
    Sounds like you really made the best of the experience. Kudos to you for that.
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    (Original post by TorpidPhil)
    Sounds like you really made the best of the experience. Kudos to you for that.
    Thanks - I like to think so. I started my undergrad when I was 44, my Masters when I was 47 and am now two years into a PhD aged 51! This latest part isn't going very well, but offered the opportunity, I had to give it a try
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    (Original post by angelteabag)
    I've gone back to uni in my 50s to study for a science degree after working as a teacher myself for years. While most of the modules are relevant and worthwhile there are aspects of it that I find to be quite humiliating and irrelevant for a more mature person- like team building exercises , CV writing and interview practice etc .Although I don’t mind sitting on the floor competing to build the highest tower out of a pack of cards I feel to go into university to do this at my age when I have extra financial obligations to cover and could be using my time more effectively is quite annoying. I understand the need for this type of thing for younger students in preparation for life skills but the one size fits all approach doesn’t work for mature students. This lack of differentiation I find very difficult.The teaching staff don’t get this and you become slightly alienated when you voice this The system is slightly at fault and mature students have to bare the brunt of this instead of being supported. What are others experiences as a mature student at uni?
    I am training to be a healthcare professional and there are a number of downsides to being a mature student. Evidence shows mature students do worse on exams than students straight from school, yet my university insisted on us sitting five exams and handing in two pieces of coursework during the two week exam period. Postgraduate students who sat in on some of the same classes got to write essays instead. There is simply no rationale for this and it basically punishes anyone who cannot devote their lives to revision from December to January because they have other obligations (e.g. children). Likewise, there is often no consideration about the implications of timetabling for people who have to commute (e.g. scheduling an hour long class in the middle of a day and nothing else).

    My course involves a lot of team work and problem based learning. I find I get absolutely nothing from this process because younger students rarely contribute anything. I find the whole process draining as there seems to be an implicit expectation that I will contribute to things. I do not mind this per se but when younger students have been given responsibilities to lead discussion etc. I expect them to actually do it.

    Thankfully, there have not been any duff sessions like the one you mention. I am also being more pragmatic about what I get out of certain sessions and whether it is worth my time and energy going to them.
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    (Original post by evantej)
    I am training to be a healthcare professional and there are a number of downsides to being a mature student. Evidence shows mature students do worse on exams than students straight from school, yet my university insisted on us sitting five exams and handing in two pieces of coursework during the two week exam period. Postgraduate students who sat in on some of the same classes got to write essays instead. There is simply no rationale for this and it basically punishes anyone who cannot devote their lives to revision from December to January because they have other obligations (e.g. children). Likewise, there is often no consideration about the implications of timetabling for people who have to commute (e.g. scheduling an hour long class in the middle of a day and nothing else).

    My course involves a lot of team work and problem based learning. I find I get absolutely nothing from this process because younger students rarely contribute anything. I find the whole process draining as there seems to be an implicit expectation that I will contribute to things. I do not mind this per se but when younger students have been given responsibilities to lead discussion etc. I expect them to actually do it.

    Thankfully, there have not been any duff sessions like the one you mention. I am also being more pragmatic about what I get out of certain sessions and whether it is worth my time and energy going to them.
    I'm not a mature student, but I did commute to uni, and I think this is becoming a more common choice for a lot of people, and I've seen posters on the forum considering the possibility of commuting up to one and a half hours each way.

    I do think this is something universities ought to take into account with their timetabling more. I know they have a lot of considerations and it's not always easy, and I know my uni did allow people to swap seminar groups and rearrange tutorials if they were commuting. I had a reasonable number of contact hours up until the last term of third year, so having to go in for just one hour was less of an issue for me, but there were days when I had a 2-3 hour gap between lectures/labs, which I usually tried to use productively, but I couldn't always.

    The hardest thing for me was scheduling meetings, especially with my dissertation supervisor- he was fairly unavailable outside his office hours, which were on my one week day off- so I'd often have to spend an hour on public transport to see him for 20-30 minutes.

    All that said, I do think if you commute to uni, or have other commitments, you have to accept some short term difficulties in exchange for the longer term benefits of getting a degree, but you do also have to go into it with both eyes open, and understand what you're taking on.
 
 
 
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