Going to Uni at 36/37 vs Open Uni in Covid Era - Risks and Rewards

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ChemicalTruth
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Hi everyone - Warning: This will be long and rambly, but anyone brave enough to tackle my mini life story, I really appreciate your input. I'm not one to ask for help really, but I'm weary of going over everything in my head. (Also helps to get all my thoughts out in the open I guess) I realise the answers ultimately lie with me but perspective from others helps too.

So I've been stuck in a dead end job for best on 15 years, (Postman) and it's been an easy job that surprisingly pays decent enough money. (Upto about 24k if you're interested with lots of holiday) I've never hated the job, but I feel it has kept my mood up more than anything and kept my away from challenging myself socially. I also hate how I feel like I could be doing something more with my life. I was always academic as a child. I've always been curious. I hate the feeling I've wasted 15 years with no real progress. Or the possibility of meeting friends for life. I tend to make friends when I'm forced to be in a setting with people. I'm not the most socially adept or experienced, these soft skills are lacking, and I'm just starting to work on my depression and anxiety which has partly contributed to me sleepwalking through my 30s with no real relationships to speak of.

The thought of attending a Brick Uni fills me with dread at my age and I'm not sure how I'd cope with living accomodation. (I do like some privacy so I doubt halls would be an option) My anxiety is currently at the point where I feel sick to my stomach and often unable to make decisions. This may improve as I go through some therapy. However it could simply be an exposure issue. Face your fears and all that. Isn't that part of CBT anyway, to expose yourself to these situations? Also, the more I delay, the older I get.

Psychobabble aside, my aim was to get into biomedicine in the hope of doing a labwork role or even future physician associate roles. A lofty goal but the subject interests me, I also found I'm a pretty good nurse to my fathers ailments. This seems a longshot but I tend to be more motivated by long shots even if I only get so far.

My main issue is facing the fear of losing a stable gig of work (I had been saving for my own place but its not urgent) to attend a Brick Uni at great expense when I could take an Open Uni route right now. That route would be slightly longer in that I took Biology and then perhaps attended a brick uni for a masters down the road. This would allow me to still earn some money and perhaps sort my mental health out more for attending a masters in biomedicine or perhaps straight onto physician with some work experience built up. But is a masters a good time to get the uni experience? I feel like I value the experience of uni as much as the degree. I'm fairly capable at distance learning as I have done stuff in the past so I can do the other option too. However I worry about the isolation and the regret in not having faced my fears. I always seem to take the safer options. Is this safe or just financially sensible?

The current covid situation has complicated things further for me. (and everyone I imagine) I had grand ideas of attending societies and clubs to push myself as I have an array of interests but I fear these areas may be dampened for years to come. (I realise noone really knows) Also I would probably be forced to stay in accomodation at uni if i did sign up as bringing anything home back to my vulnerable parents would be a risk.

So the Open Uni route is the safe option for me, financially sound and allows me to work on my mental health. Perhaps I could even get some work experience mid degree? The niggling doubt is that I'll be pretty isolated and alone for 3 years with no social challenges to face. Perhaps I should just use meetup and I'm idiolising the mature student experience?

Brick Uni would be a loss of earnings more than anything. With great social fears to face and a very uncertain covid situation. would be a better option for lab work though. (Although Open Uni do the schools which I could attend) Tho sometimes I fear time is ticking away and sometimes fortune favours the bold? I know I think more than I act, often.

Thanks for anyones input.
Last edited by ChemicalTruth; 2 months ago
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Catherine1973
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Hey I’m mature 47. I think you may be slightly over thinking the university experience at 37. You probably would feel out of place in a lot of clubs (bar ones aimed at older people) even if everyone is friendly. The older ones anyway tend to have own lives/kids/jobs and socialise less.
You don’t have to live in student accommodation, probably best with say post grads in a house share. Or even a family who take in term time lodgers?
But overall the learning is fun. May as well investigate both options before applying in January 2021. See what grades you need to get in (and most want recent experience of study)
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