They say youth is wasted on the young, and the older I get the more I agree! So to answer my own question, no it’s far from it! Well I can say that about Staffs University anyway. There is no age restriction on learning, and here that is fully embraced!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see all the straight out of college “kids” (I use kids in a term of endearment here) all fresh faced and excited, as a parent I can’t wait till my daughter is like this, instead of wrinkled and greying people like me.
But when you’re in the lecturers, sitting in your group studying or just eating lunch somewhere, age become irrelevant. Things change; lessons are learnt in life, so a good mix of ages makes more of an interesting seminar. Being honest, over half the people on my course are either parents, mature students or a combination of both! and they really do become friends.
But it’s not an easy decision; questions were raised after I committed to the course as to how I would cope. Good bye income, hello debt! What about foreign holidays, the car, school trips, after school activates… what if I’m older than the lecturer, what if people think I’m a failure because they’re 18 and I’m in my 30’s doing the same course….what about studying and reading around lectures, on top of housework, school runs… All these questions, if I was young I wouldn’t have them….maybe it is just for youngsters… (Big sigh, and feel sorry for myself moment)
The reality is there are people who can help you, manage your time and money if you can’t. I looked at going to back to university as a full time job. I had 40 hours of University per week instead of work (40 hours including lots of breaks). I swapped my woman’s magazines and recreational books for textbooks and journals that compliment my course. The financial things, they looked after themselves, but instead of doing monthly direct debits on my water, TV, internet I chose to pay them off in one go, then I have strict amounts on monthly spends.
A lot of lecture time’s start at 9:30, so there’s plenty of time for a school run, and they tend to be over by 4:00 so juggling school runs is easy. And the more open you are about your life with people and lecturers on the course, the more understanding they are. The young ones on my course do go out, Verve or Ember lounge, for drinks or karaoke in the week. I always get an invite, but very rarely go! Being honest I can’t cope with the hangovers! There are clubs and societies at staffs too! A lot of them, and again they are a great way for mature students to experience ‘student life’.
Putting money and children aside, the next worry I hear a lot of is about the learning. Can you keep up, not good with computers (don’t forget when I was at high school the internet was only just out – and involved a dial up connection at that). If you are worried talk to the university staff. There are options; one lady from my course did “step up” before starting university. This helped her back into education, and now we are doing things with adult learners in the community.
I’ve written a lot – again – but the message I am trying to push is that you are never too old; university is for all, come and see for yourself!