• Mature student profiles - Geography and History students

The best way to find out what it’s like as a Geography or History mature student is to ask some mature students. So that’s what we’ve done. Below are experiences and top tips from TSR members who have returned to or entered Higher Education at a later stage in life. If you have your own questions about what life is like as a mature student visit our mature student forum and post up a new thread you’re sure to get a helpful and swift response.

TSR Username: PinkMobilePhone

Age: 25

Studying: Classical Civilisation at University of Leeds. But I'm currently taking time out for maternity reasons. Full Time

Reasons for returning back to education as a mature student?

Well I didn't start as a mature student. I sort of turned into one. I started uni when I was 20 on a different course. And then I had a baby, and changed courses, so by the time I re-started uni as a fresher on my new course I was 22 and therefore a mature student. After that I keep taking years out so I'm getting older and older!

How are you funding yourself?

student loan and grant, same as other students

Where do you live?

own home about 20 minutes drive from the uni

What were you doing before?

did my A levels at sixth form college, and then worked for a year in an office

Challenges with being a mature student?

no social life. Also having to juggle children and writing essays is difficult

Best bits about being a mature student?

none really. I think I would have preferred to have got my degree out of the way before having kids and being a mature student. But life didn't go that way.

How do you find being older than most students?

a bit isolating. It's kind of odd because I'm only 25 so I could pass for being a non-mature student looks wise, but my situation with having a husband and children and so on is so different to all of the younger students. But there again I don't really feel the same as some of the 'older' mature students on my course, as they are in their 60s, and they look upon me in much the same way as they would look at a non-mature student, because to them they see me as just being 'young' so I'm stuck in the middle really.

What I hope to gain?

a degree of course. Plus I want my children to be proud of me, and I want to be proud of myself, for actually having achieved something!

How do your children/husband/wife find you being a student (if applicable)?

My kids are too young to understand really. My husband is not very supportive at all. He would rather I left uni for good.

Any tips for other people contemplating becoming a mature student?

If it's something you want to do, then go for it. It's rewarding but don't expect to find it easy because it can be isolating.




TSR Username: quizster

Age: 23

Studying: In the 2007/2008 academic year I was studying on the foundation programme at Durham University Queens Campus (for those who are not sure what the foundation year is, its is a year study which brings students up to that level of education to start a degree). I successfully passed the foundation year, but due to a number of reasons, I decided to take a year out, I guess mainly to save some more money and also make sure of my academic future was in the right direction.

I was due and still am due to study Geography. For me to return to study, I have had to reapply, which I have done, but I took the opportunity to reapply to 5 universities again, not just Durham, and have been offered places at 4, just waiting to hear from Durham. I am quite nervous about hearing back from Durham, because they might feel I have been messing them about, although I did discuss my situation with the admission tutor. I guess Durham is my first choice, with Sheffield and Hull being 2 and 3, but truth me known, I am really inclined to Hull at the moment, because the course I applied for is Geography and History, and the context of the course really appeals to me right now.

Reasons for returning back to education as a mature student?

The biggest regret of my life is not going to sixth form college, I had obtained the grades and was due to enrol, but a last minute change of heart, stopped me. From then on, I guess I got stuck in a rut, I got a job, which was a good job, with half decent money, and for 5 years I just got stuck in a rut, until I realised if I didn't make a move, I'd end up being stuck in the rut for the rest of my life. The job I had could have lead to bigger and better things, but it just wasn't for me, I used to feel so unsatisfied with my life, and for a while I thought this is how it must be for everyone, then I realised it wasn't like this for everyone, and some people must enjoy their job, and I wanted to get into a position where one day I would be one of these people.

How are you funding yourself?

Student Finance

Where do you live?

Home at the moment with parents, but will be in student accommodation from September/October this year.

What were you doing before?

Working in an administration position.

Did you need to refresh your study skills (essay writing etc.)? If so how did you do it?

I did a Pre Access course at my local further education college, it was for student going onto the Access course at college, but this suited me, and helped me progress onto the foundation year programme, it was only 16 weeks, 3 hours every week on an evening. The course covered presentations, essay writing, time management etc.

Challenges with being a mature student?

There is no bout it can seem a challenge top fit in with other "regular" students, but the fact is, it need not be, I find most students are quite open minded, and the ones that aren't, well, they are not worth knowing.

Best bits about being a mature student?

Fulfilling your potential.

How do you find being older than most students?

No major problem

What I hope to gain?

The opportunity to have a better life with the academic qualifications needed.

Any tips for other people contemplating becoming a mature student?

Make the jump today!


TSR Username: Orli19

Age: 25

Studying: Not currently at uni as i am completing my A-Levels - hope to study Geography next year. Full Time at college

Reasons for returning back to education as a mature student?

Got tired of doing the same mundane job over and over, I took a look at my life and decided that I can’t continue doing this forever. I had always wanted to return to education, but I had always put it off or said "I'll do it later" So I just thought now is as good a time as any, so why not.

How are you funding yourself?

Part-time work and ALG.

Where do you live?

At home with parents.

What were you doing before?

Working as a civil servant dealing with property tax.

Did you need to refresh your study skills (essay writing etc.)? If so how did you do it?

Sort of - once enrolled at college I spoke to my teachers to let them know my situation (being an old git), and really just asked if they had any advice or tips. The study skills seemed to come back naturally and after a few weeks I was fully refreshed - it was like I’d never been away from education!

Challenges with being a mature student?

Funding - although I’m living at home, I still pay rent, as well as various bills/debts/car etc which my new part time wage barely covers. So the main challenge was adapting to the lack of money!

Best bits about being a mature student?

It's just nice being a student again, knowing that age is not a barrier.

How do you find being older than most students?

It was a bit strange at first, but it’s not caused any problems, most people don't even realise I am older, and I don't bring it up unless I’m specifically asked. After a few weeks I just felt like any other student.

What I hope to gain?

I hope to get my degree which I hope will lead to a more interesting/promising career.

Any tips for other people contemplating becoming a mature student?

Don't let age stop you from returning to education, it really is not an issue. If it’s something you want to do, then just go for it, it's never too late.

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