The Student Room Group

Having Doubts About My Degree

Hi,

I'm studying a BA in photography as a mature student - I'm 53 if that makes any difference to proceedings. Photography has been my life for many years, and studying for a degree is something that I just didn't think about the last year or so. Now I'm on a course, the delivery is great and all should be good, but I'm just not feeling it. So much so that I'm. not even wanting to pick up my camera. Something that - until I started the course - was never not by my side. I'd like to meet other like minded - aged - people, but for the first time in many years, I feel alone, adrift and totally without creative ideas. I'm now wondering if I'm on the wrong course, or whether I should be at university at all. Is this normal?
(edited 4 months ago)
Original post by Mycelium Eyes
Hi,

I'm studying a BA in photography as a mature student - I'm 53 if that makes any difference to proceedings. Photography has been my life for many years, and studying for a degree is something that I just didn't think about the last year or so. Now I'm on a course, the delivery is great and all should be good, but I'm just not feeling it. So much so that I'm. not even wanting to pick up my camera. Something that - until I started the course - was never not by my side. I'd like to meet other like minded - aged - people, but for the first time in many years, I feel alone, adrift and totally without creative ideas. I'm now wondering if I'm on the wrong course, or whether I should be at university at all. Is this normal?

Hi @Mycelium Eyes ,

What did you love about photography before you chose it as a degree?

Feeling alone and having doubts is a common experience when students first start their degree so you are not alone in that sense. Have you been able to reach out to the student wellbeing service at your university for more specific advice?

Does your uni have any mature student groups? It might be helpful to check your universities social media pages or your student union as they might hold events for mature students to meet up. If they don't already, you could definitely suggest it or even help organise one!

I hope this helps a bit.

Alia
University of Kent Student Rep
Original post by University of Kent
Hi @Mycelium Eyes ,

What did you love about photography before you chose it as a degree?

Feeling alone and having doubts is a common experience when students first start their degree so you are not alone in that sense. Have you been able to reach out to the student wellbeing service at your university for more specific advice?

Does your uni have any mature student groups? It might be helpful to check your universities social media pages or your student union as they might hold events for mature students to meet up. If they don't already, you could definitely suggest it or even help organise one!

I hope this helps a bit.

Alia
University of Kent Student Rep

Thank you Alia. I haven't found any mature student groups and social media seems a bit sparse on the ground. I've held out contacting wellbeing services, but I think I'm at a point where I need to to do so. What I loved about photography was its fluidity and freedom. Its ability to capture moments and enjoy the end result. I consider myself a half decent photographer, and coming to uni was to explore this more deeply, and naturally become more adept at the artform. The trouble is there seems to be so much pontificating and very little confirmation that what I am doing is moving in the right direction. The course is great - like I said - and the delivery is also well considered, I'm just struggling to understand what is actually expected of me. I appreciate that university is about exploring one's own talents and having amazing facilities to do so, but it all seems incredibly daunting, especially when it's so difficult to connect with one's fellow students. All of this is just an existential crisis that will pass, but at present it's all to real, raw and out of control. I'll contact student services tomorrow and see where it goes from there. Thanks again for you response.
Original post by Anonymous #1
Thank you Alia. I haven't found any mature student groups and social media seems a bit sparse on the ground. I've held out contacting wellbeing services, but I think I'm at a point where I need to to do so. What I loved about photography was its fluidity and freedom. Its ability to capture moments and enjoy the end result. I consider myself a half decent photographer, and coming to uni was to explore this more deeply, and naturally become more adept at the artform. The trouble is there seems to be so much pontificating and very little confirmation that what I am doing is moving in the right direction. The course is great - like I said - and the delivery is also well considered, I'm just struggling to understand what is actually expected of me. I appreciate that university is about exploring one's own talents and having amazing facilities to do so, but it all seems incredibly daunting, especially when it's so difficult to connect with one's fellow students. All of this is just an existential crisis that will pass, but at present it's all to real, raw and out of control. I'll contact student services tomorrow and see where it goes from there. Thanks again for you response.

Hi,

No worries. It is great to hear that you are comfortable with contacting student support services. Initially it can be quite scary (having needed to contact them myself) but they usually do have your best interest at heart. Hopefully they can support you and reassure you. I know that you say these feelings will pass but as you are experiencing them it is best to seek support now before these feelings become tougher to deal with.

You put it so beautifully that university is about your journey and exploring you with the support of people around you. I am glad the course is great but I do understand that your surroundings will influence your experience of the course. I hope something comes out of talking with student support.

Alia
University of Kent Student Rep
Original post by Mycelium Eyes
Hi,

I'm studying a BA in photography as a mature student - I'm 53 if that makes any difference to proceedings. Photography has been my life for many years, and studying for a degree is something that I just didn't think about the last year or so. Now I'm on a course, the delivery is great and all should be good, but I'm just not feeling it. So much so that I'm. not even wanting to pick up my camera. Something that - until I started the course - was never not by my side. I'd like to meet other like minded - aged - people, but for the first time in many years, I feel alone, adrift and totally without creative ideas. I'm now wondering if I'm on the wrong course, or whether I should be at university at all. Is this normal?

Hello,
A fellow mature student, very close in age doing BA Photography degree also. I think what you are feeling is totally normal - i'm having similar thoughts. However, i'm really enjoying my course and will keep going with it. I believe some of these thought processes are more to do with the massive leap we have taken in undertaking such a course at this age and the constant questioning ourselves whether we are good enough / too old / doing too much work / not doing enough work. Its very difficult to strike a balance. I have no other students even near my age on my course. Everyone is really lovely but it can be a bit isolating. My hope is that as I progress through the course, these thoughts will diminish as my confidence improves.
Reply 5
Thank you anon,

It's a new term and I thought this mindset would have lifted. It did briefly, but I think I've gotten to the heart of the issue. I'm not a needy person that needs hand holding, but I do need at least some confirmation that I'm moving in the right direction. Our crits are frankly pointless for the most part and one to ones barely existent. I have booked a meeting with a couple of lecturers and shall see if this mental malaise shifts. If not I may have to defer for a year, which is something I'd really would rather avoid.
Original post by Mycelium Eyes
Thank you anon,

It's a new term and I thought this mindset would have lifted. It did briefly, but I think I've gotten to the heart of the issue. I'm not a needy person that needs hand holding, but I do need at least some confirmation that I'm moving in the right direction. Our crits are frankly pointless for the most part and one to ones barely existent. I have booked a meeting with a couple of lecturers and shall see if this mental malaise shifts. If not I may have to defer for a year, which is something I'd really would rather avoid.
Hello Mycelium Eyes
How are you getting on now that the new semester has started? Are you feeling more positive? Hope you are getting more constructive feedback and have found your direction.
Original post by Mycelium Eyes
Hi,

I'm studying a BA in photography as a mature student - I'm 53 if that makes any difference to proceedings. Photography has been my life for many years, and studying for a degree is something that I just didn't think about the last year or so. Now I'm on a course, the delivery is great and all should be good, but I'm just not feeling it. So much so that I'm. not even wanting to pick up my camera. Something that - until I started the course - was never not by my side. I'd like to meet other like minded - aged - people, but for the first time in many years, I feel alone, adrift and totally without creative ideas. I'm now wondering if I'm on the wrong course, or whether I should be at university at all. Is this normal?
Hey there,

I completely understand what you're going through. As a fellow student, I've had moments of self-doubt and questioning whether I've chosen the right path. During these times, it's crucial to remember that it's okay to feel this way.

What helped me was taking a step back and giving myself permission to feel uninspired. Creativity can't be forced, and it often comes back when we stop putting pressure on ourselves.

You're definitely not alone in feeling this way, and it's okay to take your time to find your rhythm in the new environment. Reach out to your peers, join student communities as they can provide valuable insights and possibly give you a helping hand.

Best of luck!

Ilya,
Second Year Cyber Security Student
Original post by Anonymous #2
Hello Mycelium Eyes
How are you getting on now that the new semester has started? Are you feeling more positive? Hope you are getting more constructive feedback and have found your direction.
Hi Anon,

Thank you for checking up. It's been a mixed bag, but I'm in a much better headspace, by and large. This term has been far more centred around aspects I wanted to explore, but I have realised that this degree is about making full use of the facilities and learning as I go. t will take time and needs to be savoured. I had some sound advice - something I had been told before, but now from a lecturer - that chasing a 1st isn't necessarily the end goal, and I have taken that onboard. Sure, do the best one can, but leave the degree with a full bag of tools to take out into the world and make the most of. With this in mind I feel less anxious, annoyed, frustrated et al, because somehow a huge weight has been lifted. I am my worst enemy and need to back off and let my brain play and enjoy the process.

Anywho, to answer you question, life seems a whole lot easier, most of the time. I hope whoever you are, you are doing well also. 🙏

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