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By Michelle Lillywhite

2nd year BU Student, BA (Hons) Social Work

My oxford dictionary says that the word mature means ‘fully grown’ or ‘like a sensible adult’ so if we put this together with the word student this means they complement each other perfectly! Certainly some of my friends didn’t think I was making the sensible option when I stepped away from my good job of five years – but hey what did they know!

Irrelevant of age, background, ethnicity or anything the decision to study at University is not an easy one, it’s just at our age (I am banging on the door of 38 you see) it means something different. It’s less about a ‘rite of passage’ and more about ‘fulfilling a long term dream’ and in my case the dream of going to University was the same age as a few of my class mates!

Indeed we bring something different to the table of debate and assignment writing, we bring a passion for being able to once again bask in the books and journals around our chosen subject but we also bring the responsibilities of being that bit ‘older’ (Ok I said it!) like family, working responsibilities, children, caring responsibilities and the list goes on. While our younger counterparts bring a fresh perspective to the learning environment we bring a life of experience.

This doesn’t always make it easier but it does make the challenge more exciting and at BU this is something that the teaching staff have a lot of respect for as they themselves not only teach, and all that comes with it, but are also expected to research and publish within their chosen field at the same time.

Term dates sit within the local school dates for the most part and half terms are the same time as reading week too. Your lecture and seminar schedule are given a year in advance so for those that need to plan for your other responsibilities you have the information you need.

Now my colleagues who have children warn about finding the right balance with family life and this is where getting organised with your free time is going to be important but they also say how proud their children and partners are going to be once graduation comes round!

So the best advice to you if you are thinking ‘Should I, Can I?’ – My answer is Yes!!! Do it! I am having the time of life and have never had more support or encouragement from family and friends who see how alive I feel.

3 Responses to “The Mature Student’s Perspective…”

  1. Hayley Colmer

    Thank you for taking the time to post this blog, with your mature student perspective you have revealed a couple of gems (such as reading week in half term) that help me greatly… I wonder if there could be a way I could ask you a few more questions!

    I am currently studying Social Sciences with the Open University (whilst working part time) which is going very well, but I am very much drawn towards a career in social work. I have scoured the web, attended the college access course open day and looked into Student Finance, my final barrier (not counting admission, of course!) is jumping into the unknown, with a family life I naturally wish to maintain. Unfortunately the BU open day is too late for me to delve deeper as the decision needs to be made very soon (for Open Uni reasons).

    If further dialogue would be possible I would be over the moon! In any case, thanks again for your invaluable contribution, and good luck with your studies and placements.

    Reply
    • Samantha Gale

      Hi Hayley

      Thank you for your comment, we are glad that you find the information useful. If you would like to ask Michelle further questions then please compile a list and private message us the list via our Facebook page. Michelle is more than happy to answer them for you.

      Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

      Sam

      Reply

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