Yup that was the plan.
Never had it crossed my mind that I would be spending my mid-twenties combing through brochures and school websites, deciding on a program and worrying about university applications and funding. But here I am anyway. So I decided that if I'm going to be a student again, I'm going to do it right this time.
At the workshop I felt relief that there were others I could not only relate and discuss my concerns and frustrations with, but there were services to help Mature students navigate towards this "new again" adventure. Here are a few things I took away from the workshop.
- Even when mature students have been away from school for a while, we never really stopped learning. Instead of an institution, we learned from The School of Hard Knocks. Theory is nice and all, but experience is the best teacher.
- Being fresh from high school has its disadvantages. Our school system does not do a well enough job to teach students how to transition properly into post-secondary. When the hand holding ends, these students have a tendency to fall off the wagon because they've never learned to be independent in the first place.
- The commitment is much stronger and the drive greater. Most especially if we don't have the luxury of having Mom and Pops paying for our education.
- No more messing around. We know what we want and realize that time is important. Most mature students have a big goal in mind whether it's career advancement or a new life direction, etc.
- We are "juggling experts". Even though we may not give ourselves credit, most of us are experts in time management. It comes from juggling school work with other responsibilities like career/jobs, significant others, household upkeep, volunteer work, socializing and children among other things that take up our days and nights.
- We bring more skills than our inexperienced peers who haven't really been out in the world.
- We don't get caught up in trivial matters. Peer pressure doesn't affect us as much because the years have taught us that image and "being cool and popular" in the end doesn't get us to where we really need to be. Looking good and presenting a great first impression is important, but it doesn't distract us from the big goal. We recognize that there's more things in life than getting plastered on the weekend, getting laid by some random person, or what's happening on Jersey Shore or Gossip Girl.
So it's okay to feel a proud to be a mature student. Forget about society's aversion to being "old". When faced with doubts and the occasional envy watching others that are younger seemingly get and have more fun with their school experience, take a step back. It all has to do with perspective and you only need to remind youself of the above. And if that fails to cheer you up, contact your school and ask for services offered to mature students. There are lots of resources out there at our disposal.
Everything will be fine. It will be over before we know it so might as well enjoy the university ride.
And for those thinking about going back, you are never too old to learn. It's never too late.