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What's it REALLY like as a thirty-something going to uni for the first time? Watch

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    I'm a 30 year old guy and in the middle of deciding upon a career change. I've worked in my current role for over a decade but feel very limited and career progression for me has hit a brick wall. I am also starting to lose interest.

    One of the options I'm considering, is to go to university on a full time basis,for the first time. If I decided to go down that route, I would be starting probably Septemebr 2018, when I've just turned 32.

    Haven't thought about what I want to study yet, but that's not really my concern. My concerns are surrounding the social side, and the practical side of studying - mixing with people potentially a lot younger than me, embracing the university lifestyle at the age of 32, and generally just making the most of it.

    Not considering the OU due to how long a part-time degree takes, and also due to the limited choice of courses. It's full time or nothing.

    My biggest fear is deciding to go for it, finding myself excluded from social circles due to my age, and generally feeling lonely.

    Due to my circumstances, I would almost certainly be having to live in halls for the first year - I have no savings, and financially I'm probably no better off than the averag student. I don't have a car etc.

    So, for those of you (ideally 30+), what is it REALLY like going to university, full-time, at our age?

    My main thoughts/concerns:

    • Due to my age, the majority of people in my "classes/lectures" will be a lot younger (19+), and naturally I might find myself isolated. I don't want to be a loner!
    • Having to live in halls/dorms (I feel I'll have to go down this route), again feeling isolated or withdrawn from social circles
    • Socialising in general - as above really.
    • Am I leaving it too late? I mean, I'll be around 35 when I graduate, competing with younger, fresh faced graduates for the same jobs and I've heard stories of ageism in many sectors regardless of the legality of it.
    • Am I missing out on the "core" years of my life? I mean, I'm currently 30, single, and at some point I'd like to settle down and start a family....these are kind of "core" years for that, and a lot of people I went to school with and friends of mine that are my age, many of them have families/mortgages etc.
    • Should I just focus on getting a different career without 3 years+ of uni?



    Opinons/thoughts would be very welcome.
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    (Original post by AbernathyRanch)
    Due to my age, the majority of people in my "classes/lectures" will be a lot younger (19+), and naturally I might find myself isolated. I don't want to be a loner!
    (Original post by AbernathyRanch)
    Having to live in halls/dorms (I feel I'll have to go down this route), again feeling isolated or withdrawn from social circles
    (Original post by AbernathyRanch)
    Socialising in general - as above really.
    I'm not at University yet, but I'm a 34-year-old on an Access course. Honestly for the most part, with the younger early 20's students, I don't feel all that different to them. For the most part, we talk, joke, have fun, discuss the course and generally just get on. I don't stop and think 'oh you're only 20' and talk to them any different, they're a student on the same course as me, and academically they are my equal. About the only time age is a factor is when there is a class issue they tend to look to me to raise it with the faculty and if I don't raise a concern no one else does.

    Between 31-32 I was backpacking in Australia including a couple of long term house shares (2-3months). Again with other 20-year-olds. I lived in a house with people on their gap year, people that had just graduated etc... had some part time jobs with other backpackers and again if you don't act any different to them, the age gap doesn't even come up. Professionally you must work with people of various ages, do you ever have any issue there if someone is 10-15 years older than you?

    (Original post by AbernathyRanch)
    Am I leaving it too late? I mean, I'll be around 35 when I graduate, competing with younger, fresh faced graduates for the same jobs and I've heard stories of ageism in many sectors regardless of the legality of it.
    No, I mean if you don't do it you'll still be the same age just without the degree. You can't do anything about getting older, but you can arm yourself with knowledge and experience. As for competing with fresh faced graduates, have you read the threads on here about graduates that can't find a job because they have no work experience? You'll have the same degree they will, but you've a track record of being able to cope in a working environment, your age and experience can only be an asset. Maybe some roles will practice ageism, but not all of them.

    (Original post by AbernathyRanch)
    Am I missing out on the "core" years of my life? I mean, I'm currently 30, single, and at some point I'd like to settle down and start a family....these are kind of "core" years for that, and a lot of people I went to school with and friends of mine that are my age, many of them have families/mortgages etc.
    You've got to want those things for the right reason, not just because it seems like it's what you're meant to do. If you're single and ready to mingle then you've not met the right person, no sense in trying to desperately seek some societal validation and achieve those things deliberately. Focus on you, being the best you, and doing what you want to do and just hope to meet a partner in crime along the way.

    (Original post by AbernathyRanch)
    Should I just focus on getting a different career without 3 years+ of uni
    Can you? Is there another option you'll be happy with still?

    My own position was that I needed university for my path. I either carried on without the skills and qualification I'd need, or I commit 5 years to education, which I'm really enjoying and come out of it much more able to achieve what I really want.
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    (Original post by iaintasnaketho)
    LET'S BE FAIR, I HAVE A MORE DEEPER AND MOVING STORY HERE THAT I NEED HELP WITH. I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO. WHOEVER HELPS ME WILL GET A CAKE. PLEASE I'M RELYING ON YOU GUYS!!
    PEGI 18!

    Help!! My friend grows bacteria!! ;( How am i gna live with him???
    THIS HAPPENED AT UNI, PLEASE HELP ME!!

    So basically yh... we agreed that myself and my other mate are going to move in with this friend (we'll call him X) and made this plan 2 month ago. However, we were told by X's flat mate that he is the flatmate from HELL!! he leaves food in the kitchen for 3 weeks to the point where blue bacteria grows on it like wtf.. he doesnt wash his dishes and when he does, he merely wipes it and puts it away... furthermore, he takes up 95% of the freezer... and the rest of the 5 flat mates have to share the rest of the fridge... when they confront X about this, he says hes busy and gets confrontational. X's flatmate has said we can move in with him, but we dont wana snake X as hes a cool guy. I cant deal with bacterial colonies in our kitchen... and as for the toilet, lets not mention that. And dont get me started on X's flatmates protein powder. He only said he can borrow some of the powder. A normal person would borrow a scoop or two max, he decided to use the whole 40kilo bag in one day... (exaggeration but it was finished lol)... someone help us wat shall we do. even if he promises hes gna not do it i dont wana get tied down in a year long rental contract. Appreciate the help. thanks
    Pure brilliance. :rofl::rofl:
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    (Original post by iaintasnaketho)
    let's be fair, i have a more deeper and moving story here that i need help with. I dont know what to do. Whoever helps me will get a cake. Please i'm relying on you guys!!
    Pegi 18!

    help!! My friend grows bacteria!! ;( how am i gna live with him???
    this happened at uni, please help me!!

    so basically yh... We agreed that myself and my other mate are going to move in with this friend (we'll call him x) and made this plan 2 month ago. However, we were told by x's flat mate that he is the flatmate from hell!! He leaves food in the kitchen for 3 weeks to the point where blue bacteria grows on it like wtf.. He doesnt wash his dishes and when he does, he merely wipes it and puts it away... Furthermore, he takes up 95% of the freezer... And the rest of the 5 flat mates have to share the rest of the fridge... When they confront x about this, he says hes busy and gets confrontational. X's flatmate has said we can move in with him, but we dont wana snake x as hes a cool guy. I cant deal with bacterial colonies in our kitchen... And as for the toilet, lets not mention that. And dont get me started on x's flatmates protein powder. He only said he can borrow some of the powder. A normal person would borrow a scoop or two max, he decided to use the whole 40kilo bag in one day... (exaggeration but it was finished lol)... Someone help us wat shall we do. Even if he promises hes gna not do it i dont wana get tied down in a year long rental contract. Appreciate the help. Thanks
    how can man be giving me a rep instead of a solution? Dont be no snake man. Help a brother out. Gimme that quick solution!
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    (Original post by Nirvana1989-1994)
    Pure brilliance. :rofl::rofl:
    That doesn't help my situation. This is based on a true story and I need an answer!
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    BigYoSpeck - Thanks for the reply. Are you intending to go straight onto a 3 year degree then after your Access course? Are you planning on staying in halls or sorting things out another way?

    I see what you're saying about how you interact on your Access course, but my worry is that uni will be a lot different. You can go home on your Access course to your family/friends, but at uni I'll be (potentially) staying in halls, and potentially at a uni far away from my own friends and family for months so it won't just be a case of getting along with people in lectures, but actively trying to make some sort of social life outside of study.

    I'm not the most sociable person, but I would hate to find myself socially distant from others the entire time at university. I'm not really the kinda guy anymore (now I'm in my thirties) that can go out every night/every other night drinking now which seems to be the lifestyle for at least the first year, and don't want to be distant because of that.

    Other than that - I agree with you that certain things just have to be done and the various things I'm considering all involve a degree. Maybe I just need to go for it and realise if the end goal is that important to me, then 3/4 years of study will be worth it and only a small part of a future career.
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    (Original post by iaintasnaketho)
    how can man be giving me a rep instead of a solution? Dont be no snake man. Help a brother out. Gimme that quick solution!
    Easy, report him to whoever you have your housing contract with.
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    (Original post by Nirvana1989-1994)
    Easy, report him to whoever you have your housing contract with.
    That doesn't help me. This is arrangements for next year. I have an offer up from other mates to live with them; they are clean people. what do i do? i could live with them and be forever happy. but id end up snaking man. and he has no where else to live. but i cant stand living in a filthy environment with a filthy guy!

    PLEASE HELP ME!!
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    (Original post by iaintasnaketho)
    That doesn't help me. This is arrangements for next year. I have an offer up from other mates to live with them; they are clean people. what do i do? i could live with them and be forever happy. but id end up snaking man. and he has no where else to live. but i cant stand living in a filthy environment with a filthy guy!

    PLEASE HELP ME!!
    Lol, who cares about him. Just live with your friends.
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    (Original post by Nirvana1989-1994)
    Lol, who cares about him. Just live with your friends.
    I dont want to snake him he's a good friend! But he's gonna have to raise his bacteria children elsewhere! Also, could you break the bad news to him as he is on thestudentroom as well. If you will, I will post his username information here after you reply.
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    (Original post by iaintasnaketho)
    I dont want to snake him he's a good friend! But he's gonna have to raise his bacteria children elsewhere! Also, could you break the bad news to him as he is on thestudentroom as well. If you will, I will post his username information here after you reply.
    No lol.

    You're going to have to do it, my man haha.
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    (Original post by Nirvana1989-1994)
    No lol.

    You're going to have to do it, my man haha.
    How do I break this bad news to him in a sensitive way? I dont want to kill the guy with my words.
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    I've started uni at age 27 and I have a simple answer for you: it's a nightmare. All the manners and respect your good parents taught you are nowhere to be found in any kid in your class. Everyone is a selfish prick with a fake mask on.

    There's my two cents. No more words to filth about it.
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    I've just turned 28 in my first year and it's been fine so far, nobody makes an issue out of it. In all likelihood you won't be the only mature student on the course(we tend to be the ones sat at the front actually paying attention ).

    If you go down the halls route most uni's will let mature students move into postgrad halls so you're not stuck with a load of 18 year olds. My halls is quiet and tidy but everyone in the flat keeps to themselves, so I really have to make an effort to go out and do things so I don't end up living like a hermit.
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    (Original post by AbernathyRanch)
    BigYoSpeck - Thanks for the reply. Are you intending to go straight onto a 3 year degree then after your Access course? Are you planning on staying in halls or sorting things out another way?

    I see what you're saying about how you interact on your Access course, but my worry is that uni will be a lot different. You can go home on your Access course to your family/friends, but at uni I'll be (potentially) staying in halls, and potentially at a uni far away from my own friends and family for months so it won't just be a case of getting along with people in lectures, but actively trying to make some sort of social life outside of study.

    I'm not the most sociable person, but I would hate to find myself socially distant from others the entire time at university. I'm not really the kinda guy anymore (now I'm in my thirties) that can go out every night/every other night drinking now which seems to be the lifestyle for at least the first year, and don't want to be distant because of that.

    Other than that - I agree with you that certain things just have to be done and the various things I'm considering all involve a degree. Maybe I just need to go for it and realise if the end goal is that important to me, then 3/4 years of study will be worth it and only a small part of a future career.
    Do it. I just finished over 7 years worth of study, and i have learnt a lot and grown a lot as a person, from the experience. To be honest with you, i would be more worried about whether you are going to cope with the work load (uni is quite different from anything you have ever faced before, and it only gets worse), rather than will you make friends. To be honest it is difficult not to make friends, if you go to university, and some of them may even be for life?....
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    (Original post by 571122)
    I've started uni at age 27 and I have a simple answer for you: it's a nightmare. All the manners and respect your good parents taught you are nowhere to be found in any kid in your class. Everyone is a selfish prick with a fake mask on.

    There's my two cents. No more words to filth about it.
    But you've already got a degree right 571?
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    (Original post by AbernathyRanch)
    BigYoSpeck - Thanks for the reply. Are you intending to go straight onto a 3 year degree then after your Access course? Are you planning on staying in halls or sorting things out another way?

    I see what you're saying about how you interact on your Access course, but my worry is that uni will be a lot different. You can go home on your Access course to your family/friends, but at uni I'll be (potentially) staying in halls, and potentially at a uni far away from my own friends and family for months so it won't just be a case of getting along with people in lectures, but actively trying to make some sort of social life outside of study.
    I'm probably going to do 4 years with the year in industry. So I'll be a 38-year old graduate. 2 years of shelf life left

    And you're right I go home from the Access course and there isn't much socialising with my classmates. That isn't unique to me, they don't socialise with each other outside of class either.

    This is why I draw the comparison from my year backpacking. I lived and worked with people mostly aged 18-26 for a year in various house shares and hostels. I drank with them, I partied with them, I did my grocery shopping with them. We watched game of thrones together and we lay on the beach at night watching a meteor shower. Being older makes sod all difference unless you make it an issue.
    You're in the same boat as each other, just you've got some more years on you. An age gap just isn't a problem. I mean you were 18 yourself once. You aren't a different person than you were then, you've just gained some life experience and perspective.

    (Original post by AbernathyRanch)
    I'm not the most sociable person, but I would hate to find myself socially distant from others the entire time at university. I'm not really the kinda guy anymore (now I'm in my thirties) that can go out every night/every other night drinking now which seems to be the lifestyle for at least the first year, and don't want to be distant because of that.

    Other than that - I agree with you that certain things just have to be done and the various things I'm considering all involve a degree. Maybe I just need to go for it and realise if the end goal is that important to me, then 3/4 years of study will be worth it and only a small part of a future career.
    You don't have to be out every night, I mean I'd recommend some nights out even if it's just to confirm they're not your cup of tea. But there aren't only nights out. There are the societies you can join, and you won't be the only thirty-something at the university.
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    (Original post by AbernathyRanch)

    Haven't thought about what I want to study yet, but that's not really my concern.
    That doesn't sound right - you should have a pretty good idea about what you want to study and what you want to get out of it before starting IMO. If you could change career without uni I'd do that instead and maybe pick up an OU qualification as a hobby if you're interested enough.

    Anyway the social side it's not such a big problem - if you're a loner now you'll probably still be a loner, if you make friends easily you'll probably continue to do so. If it's a uni near home you can still hang out with your existing friends anyway.

    You won't be having the exact same experience as the 18 year olds who are living on their own for the first time and coming to terms with the adult world - but that doesn't mean it won't be an enjoyable experience for you.

    Halls can be pretty rowdy and fairly concentrated 18 year old zones - might be worth looking for mature/postgrad accommodation or something private sector
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    I went back to uni for undergrad (had to leave first time round) at 31. My age made no impact on work, in fact I got more internships than anyone on my course And am still getting offers. The Civil Service specifically really won't care at all.

    You may also want to condsider seriously where you study in terms of age peer group. I went to Birkbeck which is roughly ranked 30 in this years'sTimes rankings. The average age there is around 30-34, so you'll in fact fit right in. I had classmates in their 40s and 50s, as well as some teens. The classes are in the evening so you can work if you want to.

    I had the best three years of my life social wise there, and the teaching was very high quality with small classes of focused, mature people, much better than my time at Nottingham which frankly was full of *****. Professionally my life has turned around completely.

    I also stayed in Cass and Claredale halls, which is in the heart of shoreditch, very close to campus, and only cost about £130 a week for a room in a flat. There are bargain halls in central London in great locations if you really hunt.
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    (Original post by AbernathyRanch)
    BigYoSpeck - Thanks for the reply. Are you intending to go straight onto a 3 year degree then after your Access course? Are you planning on staying in halls or sorting things out another way?

    I see what you're saying about how you interact on your Access course, but my worry is that uni will be a lot different. You can go home on your Access course to your family/friends, but at uni I'll be (potentially) staying in halls, and potentially at a uni far away from my own friends and family for months so it won't just be a case of getting along with people in lectures, but actively trying to make some sort of social life outside of study.

    I'm not the most sociable person, but I would hate to find myself socially distant from others the entire time at university. I'm not really the kinda guy anymore (now I'm in my thirties) that can go out every night/every other night drinking now which seems to be the lifestyle for at least the first year, and don't want to be distant because of that.

    Other than that - I agree with you that certain things just have to be done and the various things I'm considering all involve a degree. Maybe I just need to go for it and realise if the end goal is that important to me, then 3/4 years of study will be worth it and only a small part of a future career.
    If you do end up somewhere like this, I'd just embrace it and study whilst everyone else is getting smashed. Aim to be at the top end of our cohort and you'll do great work wise. Social wise, trust me, you only need two or three good friends at uni. Just hang with some postgrads, they'll be a lot more on your level.
 
 
 
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