The Student Room Group

Scared of being 'old' in uni

I know I'm not actually 'old', but bare with me haha!
I dropped out of college when I was 18 because of how much I hated the course. I didn't start an access course until I was 20.

I'm 20 currently, and hoping to go to university next year, when I'm 21. For some reason, I have paralysing fear and anxiety about being older than 90% of the students there, despite me not actually being particularly old.

Did anyone else experience this feeling? If so, how did you overcome it?
Original post by rsofia
I know I'm not actually 'old', but bare with me haha!
I dropped out of college when I was 18 because of how much I hated the course. I didn't start an access course until I was 20.

I'm 20 currently, and hoping to go to university next year, when I'm 21. For some reason, I have paralysing fear and anxiety about being older than 90% of the students there, despite me not actually being particularly old.

Did anyone else experience this feeling? If so, how did you overcome it?


I’m hoping to do the same thing at the same age so don’t worry. There’s definitely a lot of older students at uni - more than you’d think
Reply 2
Original post by Anonymous #1
I’m hoping to do the same thing at the same age so don’t worry. There’s definitely a lot of older students at uni - more than you’d think

I hope so! My friend who is already in uni said there's someone in their 50's in their class. I suppose it's just the anxiety of being perceived as old in things like social situations. I know I'm certainly overthinking, haha!
21 in terms of maturity is not much different to 18 year old students in my opinion. I am 38 and they were all the same to me.
Original post by rsofia
I know I'm not actually 'old', but bare with me haha!
I dropped out of college when I was 18 because of how much I hated the course. I didn't start an access course until I was 20.

I'm 20 currently, and hoping to go to university next year, when I'm 21. For some reason, I have paralysing fear and anxiety about being older than 90% of the students there, despite me not actually being particularly old.

Did anyone else experience this feeling? If so, how did you overcome it?

Hi there

I know that going to University as a mature student may seem intimidating, however, there are many people in a similar position as you.

It is also normal to make friends with students who are not in first year. 21 is still very young and you will have a lot in common with other students. (If you do not want to tell others your age, there is no pressure to do so). Don't worry, I am sure you will find University to be a welcoming environment.

I hope this helps.
University of Kent Student Rep
Original post by rsofia
I know I'm not actually 'old', but bare with me haha!
I dropped out of college when I was 18 because of how much I hated the course. I didn't start an access course until I was 20.

I'm 20 currently, and hoping to go to university next year, when I'm 21. For some reason, I have paralysing fear and anxiety about being older than 90% of the students there, despite me not actually being particularly old.

Did anyone else experience this feeling? If so, how did you overcome it?

Hiya!

Going to University can be quite scary for everyone because it is going to be a whole new experience I would honestly not worry about the age difference as we have plenty of students varying in ages and most of the time you don’t even realise what the difference is between the ages. As said, 21 is still young and in my class, we have plenty of students who are much older, and everyone is welcomed at the university and age doesn’t matter. If you are worried about not meeting people, your age in class you can always join a society / sports team as any year is welcomed in a society and is mostly ran by those in second and/ third year students. At DMU we also have mature student catch ups every month and mature student representatives and it is probable that other universities will have this too. Here is some of the many links I have found where others have had the same concern.

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=5902170
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=783660

As you can see many older students are worried about being older, but once you join the university I am sure you will be reassured and see there is nothing to worry about!

Hope this helps,
Maddie, second year Health and well-being in society student at De Montfort University
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by rsofia
I know I'm not actually 'old', but bare with me haha!
I dropped out of college when I was 18 because of how much I hated the course. I didn't start an access course until I was 20.

I'm 20 currently, and hoping to go to university next year, when I'm 21. For some reason, I have paralysing fear and anxiety about being older than 90% of the students there, despite me not actually being particularly old.

Did anyone else experience this feeling? If so, how did you overcome it?

Hi there,

I wouldn't sweat it. In my first year, I was in a house with 9 others and 4 of them were 21 or over. I think that it's more common that you may think to take a year or two before starting your degree- you'll have a great time!

All the best,
Jaz - Cardiff student rep
I think you'll be surprised how many 18-19 year-olds either don't clock that you are marginally older than them, or don't care.

Loads of people on my course were in their mid-late 20's. It didn't affect how I interacted with them.
Original post by rsofia
I know I'm not actually 'old', but bare with me haha!
I dropped out of college when I was 18 because of how much I hated the course. I didn't start an access course until I was 20.

I'm 20 currently, and hoping to go to university next year, when I'm 21. For some reason, I have paralysing fear and anxiety about being older than 90% of the students there, despite me not actually being particularly old.

Did anyone else experience this feeling? If so, how did you overcome it?

Hi @rsofia ,

I think this is a common thing that people worry about but there is really no need to worry! I was 20 when I started uni and I didn't feel any different to anybody else in terms of age. There isn't much difference between 18 and 21 and everyone is just happy to be making friends, it doesn't matter how old you are.

I also know a lot of people on my course who are my age and older than me and it doesn't make a difference!

It is common to make friends with people in other years so if you are worried then these people may be closer in age to you, but I think you will be surprised at how many people will be the same age as you. I was worried about this too before I started, but it hasn't made a difference to my experience at all. Also, if you join a society or anything like this, they often have a mixture of first, second and third years so this is a good way to make friends too.

I hope this helps and if you have any other questions please feel free to ask!
Lucy -SHU student ambassador.
Original post by rsofia
I know I'm not actually 'old', but bare with me haha!
I dropped out of college when I was 18 because of how much I hated the course. I didn't start an access course until I was 20.

I'm 20 currently, and hoping to go to university next year, when I'm 21. For some reason, I have paralysing fear and anxiety about being older than 90% of the students there, despite me not actually being particularly old.

Did anyone else experience this feeling? If so, how did you overcome it?

Hi,

You are definitely not too old for university but I completely understand your fear as I was the exact same

I started university 2 weeks before I turned 21 and was terrified that I would be way older than everyone else in my halls and on my course but I was so wrong.

There were people of all ages on my course ranging from straight out of college at 18 to people in their late 50's. University nowadays is open to people of all ages so definitely don't fear that you'll be older as more than likely there'll be others the same age and older than you.

I have friends on my course who are older and younger than me and in university age really doesn't matter as everyone is studying towards the same goals ad therefore has a similar mindset no matter what their age.

I hope this is of some reassurance and I wish you the best of luck at university

Mary
London South Bank University Student Rep - 3rd-year Children's Nursing Student
I was 33 when I started uni and soon made friends with the 18-21 year olds on my course, in sports clubs, and where I lived. Trust me, people see you for your personality rather than how many years you've been on the planet, and when you look at it like that, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. The difference between 18 and 21 at uni is absolutely nothing!

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