Ramblings of a Mature Student.

It’s been somewhat quiet on the blogging front for several reasons, which typically at this time of the year involve children and school. Is it just our schools which thrive on ramping up parents’ stress levels as soon as a new school year starts? It’s almost as if there is an evil secretary squirreled away in the admin office during August typing up batches of letters; each one demanding money/cake donations/harvest donations/travel assistance/class help assistance or something else that your Year 5 child absolutely MUST contribute to or be involved in and a response was required at the beginning of last week. Not that I’m suggesting that our school secretaries are anything other than lovely salt-of-the-earth human beings. I’m not suggesting that at all...

A new school year also means a return to uni for me!

During this year’s Induction week, I was invited to prepare a presentation for new Business foundation students alongside two other students. This forced me to recall how gut-wrenchingly terrifying I had felt just 12 months prior. Being first up to speak to a room full of new students was nothing compared to walking up the stairs of my university campus at the beginning of my own Induction week.

Yeah, okay, that’s just a stock photo but it perfectly conveys how I felt on walking into the lecture theatre with my peers. I was literally the oldest person in the room, bar the lecturers although I took no solace in that because they both already had an alphabet of letters after their names under their belt. There’s nothing like hanging out with people younger than your eldest children to make you feel every fucking grey hair. I remember looking around and wondering if this had been such a good idea after all…did I really belong here?

It took every ounce of courage to return the following day but before I knew it, the age thing became immaterial as we all struggled together with this unfamiliar world and later on, the bastard called Data Analysis that would crawl out from under its rock and attempt to destroy everything in its path.

That’s not to say it was easy. I had to keep reminding myself why I was there.

I’ve had a lifetime of working in dead-end retail jobs. There’s nothing wrong with that, if you don’t have aspirations to do something better. It was an encounter with an arsehole manager, who I shall refer to as Hitler-Bitch, which made me realise that I couldn’t spend my remaining working years being subservient to people who had ultimately left school with even less ambition than me and went and sat at a checkout until there was nothing else to do besides rise up through the managerial ranks. In a few years when I’m running my own business, I’ll pop in on Hitler-Bitch as she cracks her whips at her nightshift replenishment team. I’ll say thank you to her for being my inspiration…and then I’ll ‘accidentally’ knock the biggest glass bottle of Napolina Olive Oil off the shelf. Oops! Then I’ll drive off in my beautiful M5. Another reason to keep studying is to be able to fund my dream car as Mr Mumbo Jumbo says no…I’m dangerous in a powerful car. Errrm, that’s exactly the point.

As a mature student, I didn’t have the same fears as other students of not making any friends. One of the side-effects of being an adult is that you get to a point where you realise that you actually don’t like people. Therefore, a lack of friends is not something I feared. I wasn’t at uni to make friends, I was there to get that BSc with Hons and that was that. I hadn’t figured on those words, which I now know to strike fear into the hearts of the most ardent student…. *group project*. It’s at this point you learn, by trial and error, who you can work with. I had many trials and a couple of errors but my constant came in the form of another mature student (who was only old enough to be my eldest daughter if I’d started having kids in school.) and we clung together during the entirety of the two semesters. She was calm when I was stressed. I was motivating when she procrastinated. Together, we produced some awesome work and kicked ass on all our modules. Towards the end of the year, I had to begrudgingly admit, as much as I had set out to be a one-woman band, I probably wouldn’t have flourished in that first year without my uni bestie telling me to chill the fuck out now and again. Already, this year I have her to thank for showing me the way of the Las Iguanas- I am now well and truly converted- and together we have learnt the vital lesson that the bus back to uni will usually be found on the opposite side of the road to where you got off.

So here’s to another year of 9 o’clock lectures; work deadlines; not understanding shit in a lecture and let’s not forget the old checking out 12 mahoosive text books from the library, hoofing them home to find only three of them are relevant to your assignment.

For anyone thinking about returning to study as a mature student, please don’t be put off by the above. The pros far outweigh the cons. For me, the greatest advantage of being a mature student is that, by the time I graduate four out of the five daughters will be pretty much independent so parenting young children will be a thing of the past and I am already married to my dream man who is rapidly rising through the ranks in his career.

All we will have to focus on is enjoying the rest of our working lives in our chosen professions and best of all, enjoying the fruits of our labour.

It’ll all be worth it in the end. In the meantime, let me entice you with…*whispers seductively*student discounts...


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