My Thoughts and Tips For Mature Students

Attending university is tough the first time. It is a large place, and can be intimidating. Lots of people, a campus that is confusing, and in UVic’s case, lots of funky 60s and 70s buildings with lots of wings with slightly illogical floor-plans (the Cornett springs to mind).

As a mature student, going to university for the first time held some other challenges as well, those not faced by the average twenty-something. There is that whole fish-out-of-water thing, that feeling that you are not one of many, but somehow singular among many.

You look around and you see people your kids’ ages, perhaps. In most cases, it has been just fine, students and teachers accepting, no odd looks, just the odd time that I have been mistaken for a professor. I am not the only mature student in most classes. There is some solidarity too among those of us in the not-in-our-twenties bracket. We do like to associate with people that can understand us and where we are coming from.

Technology was the thing that intimidated me most. I have never been a fan of the new, at least when it comes to tech. I like my books and my type-writers (yes, type-writers, really old ones from 1930s and earlier). The computer has since become my second favourite tool, next to my notebook and pen. I think Mac is best if you are a non-computer type. I had to learn how to do all sorts of things, and am still learning, and Mac is intuitive.

Then there were the doubts. All students suffer doubts. I changed programs, having started in one, and realised that I had an aptitude and passion for another. I think us older students bring a different set of baggage to our choices of major. When I was leaving high school, my choices were shaped by my parents and the teachers who told me what I was good at. As a mature student, I was actually less sure of myself and what I could do. It was more of an exploration. It seemed as if there were more doors open to me.

As it turns out, I can do a lot more than I thought. I love university. I love being around the keen minds, I love the atmosphere, although never fully drawn into it in the same way as a twenty-something. I love to learn. The more I know, the more I want to know. Life experience brings a different perspective. Embrace it.

My top tips for a mature student would be these:

  • You can do this!
  • Allow yourself to change your mind.
  • Don’t limit yourself with preconceptions of what you think you can do.
  • You can do this!
  • Time management is key, especially with kids, or for the single parent (it has been a growing opportunity for my kids too as they have learned new life-skills).
  • Be patient with yourself.
  • Eat well and exercise.
  • It is worth it! And so are you!
  • You can do this!

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2 Responses

  1. Sylvia Newhouse says:

    Thank you for the awesome post! Inspiring, uplifting, abd motivational! Is there a mature student website, or group at Uvic to share and support?…..

  2. Amanda Mielty says:

    Thank you, I needed to read this today. I’m a mature student who has also relocated from Vancouver to attend UVIC. I’m worried I won’t make friends. I’m 35, single and do not have children. I’m worried I won’t connect with people. Everyone seems so young or they have families.

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