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Mature students - success stories!?

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    Hi all

    Like alot of people on this forum i'm toying with the idea of going to University.

    Bit of background...

    I done 2 years at college getting a HND in my chosen subject (Scottish college not sure what the English equivalent is). After that I was "lucky" enough to pretty much walk straight into a job in my chosen field so never bothered with uni which i'm massively regretting now. Back then though it was a case of getting paid a salary working in a decent city centre office, or working two jobs, doing uni studies and taking on more debt.

    Since then i've been in full time employment in my chosen field and have changed job once 4.5 years ago. I'm on an ok salary (not brilliant but can live on it) and have a company car, phone, laptop, pension etc. Sounds rosy except i have ZERO job satisfaction. Not one little bit. I don't particulary like where I work, what work i do, the people i work with or any of the industry I currently work in. I'm also becoming a bit of a jack of all trades where i'm learning little parts of lots, but mastering nothing. Even discussing it bores me TBH. I've looked at other jobs within the industry and again, i get 5 lines into the advert and close the page off.

    Seem probably think I'm sounding a little spoilt but when you finish work at 17.00 then by 17.01 you're already full of dread for the next day then its time to accept there is issues.

    Anyway the point of the thread was to see if anyone on here has ever been in a similar position, went onto university and now in a brand new career. If so how did you manage, how did you cope, how was the whole experience etc?

    I've been to the uni open day so know what university i'd like to attend, i also know what course i'm applying for. I guess the biggest (possibly only) worry is the affordability of it all. I have no children but do have a mortgage and also various outgoings like everyone else.

    If anyone can relate to the above i'd love to hear your responses.

    BR,

    SB62
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    (Original post by sbarclay62)
    Hi all

    Like alot of people on this forum i'm toying with the idea of going to University.

    Bit of background...

    I done 2 years at college getting a HND in my chosen subject (Scottish college not sure what the English equivalent is). After that I was "lucky" enough to pretty much walk straight into a job in my chosen field so never bothered with uni which i'm massively regretting now. Back then though it was a case of getting paid a salary working in a decent city centre office, or working two jobs, doing uni studies and taking on more debt.

    Since then i've been in full time employment in my chosen field and have changed job once 4.5 years ago. I'm on an ok salary (not brilliant but can live on it) and have a company car, phone, laptop, pension etc. Sounds rosy except i have ZERO job satisfaction. Not one little bit. I don't particulary like where I work, what work i do, the people i work with or any of the industry I currently work in. I'm also becoming a bit of a jack of all trades where i'm learning little parts of lots, but mastering nothing. Even discussing it bores me TBH. I've looked at other jobs within the industry and again, i get 5 lines into the advert and close the page off.

    Seem probably think I'm sounding a little spoilt but when you finish work at 17.00 then by 17.01 you're already full of dread for the next day then its time to accept there is issues.

    Anyway the point of the thread was to see if anyone on here has ever been in a similar position, went onto university and now in a brand new career. If so how did you manage, how did you cope, how was the whole experience etc?

    I've been to the uni open day so know what university i'd like to attend, i also know what course i'm applying for. I guess the biggest (possibly only) worry is the affordability of it all. I have no children but do have a mortgage and also various outgoings like everyone else.

    If anyone can relate to the above i'd love to hear your responses.

    BR,

    SB62
    Think long and hard and honestly about making a move - there's a lot to be said for a dull but easy to achieve income, and just getting a decent hobby to make life more interesting.

    However, if you want to make a change, then in my experience, too many mature students fall into a middle ground where they want to make a change, but don't either make a complete leap into something with no entry barriers (ie do a pottery degree, move the a barn, live of beans and become blissfully happy making bowls), or do something that actively grows on top of their previous life. It takes a lot of honest thinking about your own personal circumstances, skills, desires etc.

    If you've got any attachment to your current income, mortgage, lifestyle etc, then you almost have to make a career change that builds on your current career. That takes a great deal of honest thinking and analysis, because if you are in IT, you are probably still going to have to work in IT afterwards, just in a different sector.

    If you don't do a degree with a view to building on your past career, then you can anticipate taking a very significant pay cut. That may be absolutely what you want - but be certain you've thought it all out now, while you are still earning, just bored.

    Lots of people make successful moves, but they are either very clear and determined to do a 'drop out' type change, or they build on past experience, just change its direction.
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    Think long and hard and honestly about making a move - there's a lot to be said for a dull but easy to achieve income, and just getting a decent hobby to make life more interesting.

    However, if you want to make a change, then in my experience, too many mature students fall into a middle ground where they want to make a change, but don't either make a complete leap into something with no entry barriers (ie do a pottery degree, move the a barn, live of beans and become blissfully happy making bowls), or do something that actively grows on top of their previous life. It takes a lot of honest thinking about your own personal circumstances, skills, desires etc.

    If you've got any attachment to your current income, mortgage, lifestyle etc, then you almost have to make a career change that builds on your current career. That takes a great deal of honest thinking and analysis, because if you are in IT, you are probably still going to have to work in IT afterwards, just in a different sector.

    If you don't do a degree with a view to building on your past career, then you can anticipate taking a very significant pay cut. That may be absolutely what you want - but be certain you've thought it all out now, while you are still earning, just bored.

    Lots of people make successful moves, but they are either very clear and determined to do a 'drop out' type change, or they build on past experience, just change its direction.
    Thanks for you're reply.

    Most people i've spoke to think I'm daft for the reason you've mentioned dull but easy to achieve income, especially when I tell them I 50% of the day is actual 'work' and the other 50% is browsing the Guardian, Asos, ebay and Sky Sports News. However a wise (or perhaps not so wise man) told me after his experiences job satisfaction is number 1. No point doing something for half you're life if you hate it. Which I guess i do when minutes feel like hours and hours feel like days.

    Yeah it wouldn't be a drastic career move. Still in the same industry just a different sector as you put it. I have my diploma and 6 years industry experience within IT support and have worked with finance, manufacturing and renewable engery companies so have alot of bases covered. Instead of doing the jack of all trades fixing anything I get asked to do I'd rather specialize in specific field, that being IT Security. I'm also fortunate enough to live in Edinburgh which keeps getting dubbed as one of Europes top 'tech cities'.

    I guess the next stage is to apply when see what happens after that...
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    (Original post by sbarclay62)
    Hi all

    Like alot of people on this forum i'm toying with the idea of going to University.

    Bit of background...

    I done 2 years at college getting a HND in my chosen subject (Scottish college not sure what the English equivalent is). After that I was "lucky" enough to pretty much walk straight into a job in my chosen field so never bothered with uni which i'm massively regretting now. Back then though it was a case of getting paid a salary working in a decent city centre office, or working two jobs, doing uni studies and taking on more debt.

    Since then i've been in full time employment in my chosen field and have changed job once 4.5 years ago. I'm on an ok salary (not brilliant but can live on it) and have a company car, phone, laptop, pension etc. Sounds rosy except i have ZERO job satisfaction. Not one little bit. I don't particulary like where I work, what work i do, the people i work with or any of the industry I currently work in. I'm also becoming a bit of a jack of all trades where i'm learning little parts of lots, but mastering nothing. Even discussing it bores me TBH. I've looked at other jobs within the industry and again, i get 5 lines into the advert and close the page off.

    Seem probably think I'm sounding a little spoilt but when you finish work at 17.00 then by 17.01 you're already full of dread for the next day then its time to accept there is issues.

    Anyway the point of the thread was to see if anyone on here has ever been in a similar position, went onto university and now in a brand new career. If so how did you manage, how did you cope, how was the whole experience etc?

    I've been to the uni open day so know what university i'd like to attend, i also know what course i'm applying for. I guess the biggest (possibly only) worry is the affordability of it all. I have no children but do have a mortgage and also various outgoings like everyone else.

    If anyone can relate to the above i'd love to hear your responses.

    BR,

    SB62
    It seems that you have a pretty comfortable job, what is it about your career that you dislike? From the current perks you've mentioned it sounds sales based? Medical sales perhaps.

    You should always strive to better yourself and that includes qualifications, but can this be achieved another way. I don't think quitting your job outright is a wisest decision. Can you potentially go part time and study full time or vice versa?

    What course would you like to study? Also is there possibility to progress in your current career into a different position that may stimulate you more.

    Remember that getting a degree is no guarantee to a job, you may have to start at a entry level position earning significantly less than you do now.
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    Hi,

    I'd been working as a Quantity Surveyor for about 4 years before I decided I wanted to go to Uni (at 26), and my current employer wouldn't help with extra training of any sorts. I was pretty bored of my job, as I was still working at a lower level, and wanted to learn more about the job, hoping it would open opportunities to me. I wrote to a few employers telling them I had applied for the course, and I would self fund it, but I was lucky in that my new employer sponsored me to study one day a week, so I still got paid a full salary, with no study debt (they worked me bloody hard though). About 6 months from the end of the course finishing, I was made redundant from my job, and I had lots more opportunities available to me. I was working for a housebuilder, and was offered three jobs that I interviewed for, from a housebuilder, a general contractor, and a civil engineering company, without the extra skills and confidence the degree gave me, I could never have changed direction easily.



    Having said the above, I know I was quite lucky, as I didnt have to take a salary hit to study, so it was a complete no brainer, with nothing to lose (only my spare time became study time). Think long and hard, see if your employer will sponsor you, or see if another employer will!

    I've been there, bored off my arse half the time, theres only so many forums you can visit in a day without it all blending in to one. There is definitely better opportunities out there, and ways of making it happen, so the advise earlier of "there's a lot to be said for a dull but easy to achieve income", is totally wrong, demoralising, and what a depressing way to live! Why do something you hate, when you dont have to???

    Hope this helps,

    Dan
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    Apologies for the late replies, been without internet for the last week.

    (Original post by dantheqs)
    Hi,

    I'd been working as a Quantity Surveyor for about 4 years before I decided I wanted to go to Uni (at 26), and my current employer wouldn't help with extra training of any sorts. I was pretty bored of my job, as I was still working at a lower level, and wanted to learn more about the job, hoping it would open opportunities to me. I wrote to a few employers telling them I had applied for the course, and I would self fund it, but I was lucky in that my new employer sponsored me to study one day a week, so I still got paid a full salary, with no study debt (they worked me bloody hard though). About 6 months from the end of the course finishing, I was made redundant from my job, and I had lots more opportunities available to me. I was working for a housebuilder, and was offered three jobs that I interviewed for, from a housebuilder, a general contractor, and a civil engineering company, without the extra skills and confidence the degree gave me, I could never have changed direction easily.



    Having said the above, I know I was quite lucky, as I didnt have to take a salary hit to study, so it was a complete no brainer, with nothing to lose (only my spare time became study time). Think long and hard, see if your employer will sponsor you, or see if another employer will!

    I've been there, bored off my arse half the time, theres only so many forums you can visit in a day without it all blending in to one. There is definitely better opportunities out there, and ways of making it happen, so the advise earlier of "there's a lot to be said for a dull but easy to achieve income", is totally wrong, demoralising, and what a depressing way to live! Why do something you hate, when you dont have to???

    Hope this helps,

    Dan
    Thanks for you're input Dan. A sponsored employer sounds interesting, how did you go about that? My current employer won't. I've discussed it with them and they told me they won't hold me back if i want to study further or seek alternative employment.

    Your very last paragraph has hit the nail on the head. People often think i'm mad giving up a £25k car etc etc but the fact of the matter is I hate the job. If I had £50k a year and company audi I'd still hate it. And as you say why do something like that when you don't have too. Especially when you still have just under 40 years until retirement!

    (Original post by comebackseason)
    It seems that you have a pretty comfortable job, what is it about your career that you dislike? From the current perks you've mentioned it sounds sales based? Medical sales perhaps.

    You should always strive to better yourself and that includes qualifications, but can this be achieved another way. I don't think quitting your job outright is a wisest decision. Can you potentially go part time and study full time or vice versa?

    What course would you like to study? Also is there possibility to progress in your current career into a different position that may stimulate you more.

    Remember that getting a degree is no guarantee to a job, you may have to start at a entry level position earning significantly less than you do now.
    I'm an IT field engineer, except these days with superfast broadband and remote support tools i'm very rarely in the field. In IT it very much seems to be as a hobbyist's career, everyone of my colleagues love the industry, they appear to live and breathe the industry, its all they talk about, its what they know, they do it for a job and do the same stuff as their hobby's at weekends. For me i'm the complete opposite. I generally couldn't care less about computers, servers and networks, never have done and probably never will (Yep i do ask myself everyday why i choose this career path too). On top of that i'm stuck in an office where no-one talks, no radio, just silence. On top of that still i have 2 hours every day for the commute. I should say however on the very rare occasion when I do have a good day at work, i very much enjoy it despite what I've said. However that happens once a month at best.

    If I wanted to stay in this IT support role then yeah i could look to get industry certifications. However its not a field i enjoy and to specialize in something else (Still within IT industry, probably within IT security) i'd need to consider leaving.

    It should be said that i'm still in my late 20s and my salary is mid £20k. Not a massive salary by any means but enough to get me by.
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    I was pretty lucky, i know that. I had an idea that the company i had applied to had a training academy and that they sponsored a few people a year, but that was only found through research. I found the course i wanted, and when i applied i said i would self fund (i assumed through student loans, as i would be studying part time, i would have got the course fees paid that way). I figured this showed good initiative and a bit of willing, and i would have been prepared to do this (kinda wish i would have now, and taken the extra salary, as ive moved to Aus permantly so wouldnt have to pay back any student loan!) I got lucky when they said they said they would pay. In construction especially, construction companies get good reimbursements from the CITB for helping to train people.
    All i can say is, figure out if you would be willing to pay for a course via student loans, if so, tell a new employer that in a speculative resume/letter, and see if anyone bites. You could always see if they would help to fund? Most companies will probably get you to sign on to a training agreement if they help to fund though, tying you in for like two years after you finish training, with penalties of having to pay back a certain % reducing over time.

    Hopefully its food for thought though.

    Dan
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    (Original post by sbarclay62)
    Apologies for the late replies, been without internet for the last week.



    Thanks for you're input Dan. A sponsored employer sounds interesting, how did you go about that? My current employer won't. I've discussed it with them and they told me they won't hold me back if i want to study further or seek alternative employment.

    Your very last paragraph has hit the nail on the head. People often think i'm mad giving up a £25k car etc etc but the fact of the matter is I hate the job. If I had £50k a year and company audi I'd still hate it. And as you say why do something like that when you don't have too. Especially when you still have just under 40 years until retirement!



    I'm an IT field engineer, except these days with superfast broadband and remote support tools i'm very rarely in the field. In IT it very much seems to be as a hobbyist's career, everyone of my colleagues love the industry, they appear to live and breathe the industry, its all they talk about, its what they know, they do it for a job and do the same stuff as their hobby's at weekends. For me i'm the complete opposite. I generally couldn't care less about computers, servers and networks, never have done and probably never will (Yep i do ask myself everyday why i choose this career path too). On top of that i'm stuck in an office where no-one talks, no radio, just silence. On top of that still i have 2 hours every day for the commute. I should say however on the very rare occasion when I do have a good day at work, i very much enjoy it despite what I've said. However that happens once a month at best.

    If I wanted to stay in this IT support role then yeah i could look to get industry certifications. However its not a field i enjoy and to specialize in something else (Still within IT industry, probably within IT security) i'd need to consider leaving.

    It should be said that i'm still in my late 20s and my salary is mid £20k. Not a massive salary by any means but enough to get me by.
    sorry for the old bump here, but have possibly considered a more interesting side to computers/IT like forensics or cyber security?
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    I went from 20+ years in IT to being an archaeologist, via a degree and a Masters. It's undeniably a more hand-to-mouth existence now, but I love my life. IT really ground me down - eventually the 24x7 callout made me ill. Sometimes the (admittedly generous) money simply isn't worth it.

    Think long and hard, but don't feel that you have to stay in IT.
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    (Original post by comebackseason)
    sorry for the old bump here, but have possibly considered a more interesting side to computers/IT like forensics or cyber security?
    That's exactly the course I was looking at.

    I'm going to apply for it. If I get accepted then it gives me something to worry about. If i don't then its just back to being miserable
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    Good for you! Let us know how you get on.


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    I'm still at uni (optimistic about the future though!), but I can totally empathise with the whole comfortable wage but zero satisfaction thing. It cost me my mental and physical health and now I'm at uni I'm much happier than I've been in a very long time. If you can save some of your wage then do it, student finance helps but it doesn't go as far as I'd hope. I actually sold my house rather than carrying on paying it so I had a bit of extra freedom. Good luck.
 
 
 
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