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Any advice on how to get on socially as a mature student? watch

    • Thread Starter

    Hello fellow students, I'm 24 and just re-started my undergraduate degree (after doing two years at another uni. The course wasn't what I wanted but it was such a nice place I stayed longer than I probably should have!) So I've already done the whole stressful wrench of leaving home and adapting to a new place and way of learning etc.

    Its the first few weeks in my new uni and the whole time I've been feeling pretty low and lonely. I'm not sure whether this is because I'm not liking this particular university, taking a while to get to like it or because I'm finding it hard to feel connected to many people here because of the fact that the majority of them are so so much younger than me!

    I don't have a problem at all with socialising with people younger than me- we're all people!- and I have friends at home who are a bit younger, but here I can't help feeling when I'm around any that there is a complete disconnect.

    To put it in context, I think I am probably a bit mature for my age anyway, always have been, and I also struggle a lot with socialising generally.

    So what I'm trying to ask is is this something other mature students have experienced? Should I continue trying to hang out and make friends with the 18/19 yr olds or am I just flogging a dead horse so to speak and should seek out some people closer to my age?

    Hello, I also started uni at 24. Honestly I think you are thinking about the age thing too much. I had to say the same thing to myself, and now on a day to day basis I don't really notice that most people are younger than me. I've met some amazing people and that is all that counts and age doesn't really come into it. It's the same thing at work as well: you may work with people who are mostly older or younger than you but you have to adjust accordingly. If anything you can use your experience to help out some of the younger students I personally enjoy doing this I highly recommend joining some societies regarding things that you are interested in so that you can find like minded people.

    So the bottom line is, the more weight you place on being older than everyone else the more it will drag you down. Just let it go and enjoy the company What does age really matter when it comes to making great connections?

    I've just started uni, but I'm in my late 30s, so the age difference between most of my fellow students and I is even more pronounced in my case. Since I've only just started, it's difficult for me to take a long view of it or reassure you. But I understand where you're coming from.

    I was chatting about this the other day with another Yr1 mature student on my course - he's in his early 20s, but still has the same sense as I do of a certain degree of disconnectedness from the younger ones. I think the main difference is that the social integration process happens much more slowly for mature students. A lot of the youngsters seem to develop bonds very early on, and right from the early weeks are going around together in groups, so they're in this near-continual social bubble. I think this is a coping mechanism as much as anything else. For most 18 yr olds, going away from home to uni is probably the first major upheaval in their life, so in order to deal with it they band together. Your typical mature student, however, is probably more experienced at dealing with these big changes. I've gotten used to going around on my own a lot (in life generally), so I'm not so fazed by going around my uni campus on my own a lot. I like forging the social connections, but I don't need to do that in quite the same way the younger ones do.

    My personal opinion is that the "age disparity problem" is a two-way process. Yes, there's the issue of how the younger ones react to you, but there's also the way you react to them. For example, I'm happy to involve myself in activities with them where I'm comfortable, but there are some activities they might involve themselves in that I wouldn't want to do, even if they are happy for me to join them.

    So, like I say, I can't really come up with any definitive conclusions at this point, but for now I'd just say keep quietly plugging away, join in with them if and when you feel the time and place is right, but otherwise do you own thing, and consider trying to involve yourself with or actively organise things among your uni's mature student community.
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