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Never too old for new tricks: the joy of being a mature student

Age is not a barrier when it comes to learning. About 40% of mature students studying at university are over the age of 30, some in their 50s and 60s. Many have mortgages, families and are in full-time employment.

Although the prospect of returning to education, essay writing and mixing with younger students can seem daunting, having a few extra years on your peers can be a distinct advantage. Ucas says that universities are happy to accept older students as most arrive with high levels of enthusiasm, commitment and additional life experience.

After an 11-year break from education, Philip Hodgson, 40, is studying for an MBA at Bath University. But he admits it’s been a challenge organising both family life and study.

“There’s a lot of juggling. I have a young son and if he’s ill it’s a case of should I stay at home or should my wife, who works three days a week?” He believes, however, that the course will change his life and career. “I take it a lot more seriously than I would have done 10 years ago,” he says.

After being laid off, single mum Jenni Smyth, 38, invested in her future by using her redundancy money to return to education. She took a full-time psychology course, and intends to go on to do a master’s. “When I first arrived at Manchester University I wanted the full student experience, and being older means I’m a lot more focused on academia and less likely to go partying.

“I find being a student a little more flexible compared with work, and the kids love me being a student. Admittedly it’s hard work, and you have to get the books out at all hours, but it’s been a fantastic experience.”

Smyth recommends seeking out support and advice on university websites. Manchester also arranges meetings with staff members during its adults returning to education sessions.

Sarah Glozer, 34, returned to education twice. The first time she completed a master’s after working for a consultancy firm, and more recently completed a PhD at Nottingham University in corporate social responsibility. “I worked for four and half years for Cadbury, before returning for the PhD programme,” she says. “They were both full-time courses, which allowed me to be fully immersed in the role.”

Her advice? “Getting back into academic writing doesn’t take too long. Just play to your strengths and focus on your areas of interest.”

Article source: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/jan/12/never-too-old-new-tricks-joy-mature-student-university