Regardless of your age, background, circumstances or how you’ve ended up coming to university, we will all have worries and fears. For me I thought I was too old, out of fashion, and not up to date education wise. But all these fears were dashed within weeks of starting. And being honest, the only way you will ever know, or overcome these fears and apprehensions is by actually coming to Staffordshire University and finding out for yourself.
Looking at myself my first morning I thought what the heck am I doing. I told myself I was crazy, it was an OK day, so all the young ones would be in crop top, shorts and laughing, I’d be sitting there, middle aged, graying and in my snugly clothes. But when I walked into the room and saw the people on my course I was so shocked to see some are older than me! I quickly made a friend, Amy, who was only a year younger than me and she too was there tugging her coat around her. She intermitted now and is about to have a baby girl – so congratulations Amy and family!
A week later I knew nearly everyone on the course, young and old, blue hair to grey, belly piercing to belly busting pants! I mainly talk to a girl who is 19, a lad in his 20’s and Becky, nearly 30. So it’s a huge mix of people you meet and become friends with. It’s not just your course either. I went for an interview to become a student ambassador. I thought the university would only want young ‘cool’ (is that word still cool?!) people to represent them. But how wrong was I? I’ve done so much work for them!
Another common fear is the work load. Scheduled lecture contact time isn’t as much as you might expect, but you do have to study! Independent, or with the help of your peers you will get there. you need to apply yourself and give it the time it deserves. if you cant study at home, over come it by using the university. The Thompson Library is open 24/7 for students, so there is no excuses.
Finances – another common worry is finances or money! Budgeting for the first time for some people to loosing a regular income with others. the truth is you learn to. Adapting is good, and this is a life skill that you can take with you. I’m in my 30’s and I struggled with the change. There are plenty of people around that can give you help and advice too. Like to when supermarkets reduce their stock to discount vouchers for food and drinks. You’ll also find, as you get more friends, that you can share things. like a pizza, or bulk buying shopping works out cheaper, so a kilo of pasta at a time! If you’re coming out of work like I did it is a shock to the system going from a regular wage to not as much, every few months.
A few people find a job can be a good way to boost income and don’t get me wrong it is. Try and make sure you and your employer know that uni is the priority though. Sometimes its easy to forget this, as when you’re broke and need money, its a quick fix.
Being older I don’t have this problem, but a few others on my course did. Home sickness! after the first few weeks of excitement had passed, and people have settled into their courses, it can get very lonely. The reality of only being alone, and with no family local does eat away at you, regardless of how much you argue with it. my advice is get out of your room. Don’t lock yourself away in isolation. Go out to the gym, join a club or go the library. Use one of the social spaces outdoors by the halls. Talk to someone. Your ResLife team are there for you and there is an abundance of support at the university too.
Finally being at university is the best time of my life, and I hope it is of yours too. Just don’t forget you really do only get out what you put in, so make it count!