High school is a distant memory. Cos = a Jason over hippopotamus, osmosis has something to do with the washing machine, and a tort is a delicious variation of pie. Rest assured though, entering university at a mature age means you already have the skills to be a great student.
A few years between formal education and where you are now, can leave you feeling as competent as you did when you first laid eyes on algebra. Rest assured though, there are skills that you possess that render you as ready as ever for a triumphant return to the world of education.
It is commonplace to think you have to be innately intelligent to be successful at university. Whilst you do need to be able to write a fluent sentence and comprehend what you read, there are attributes, which are equally and arguably more pertinent to your success than just your IQ. If you have managed to hold down a job and/or manage a family whilst maintaining your enthusiasm for life, you probably have these skills without even knowing it.
- Work ethic – University is like a full time job, where your sole responsibilities are to be present, to be committed and to be a sponge for information. If you can handle those three tasks, you are just as likely to do well, as any dux fresh from high school. If there is one thing that will give you a strong work ethic, it’s working!
- Enthusiasm – The main reason people give up at university is not their lack of capability; it is their lack of enthusiasm. If you are passionate about something, and can see how learning can change the way you live your life, it is not hard to tackle the hard tasks. Everyone, no matter how smart, will come across a concept at university that is hard to comprehend. It is stick-to-itiveness that allows that comprehension, not book smarts. As a mature age student, you have had a lot of time to think about what you want to do and why you want to do it. That is strength to be utilised that not everyone at university has.
- Teamwork – Just like the workforce, much of university life is centred around working as a team to solve problems. Whether you are designing a costume, designing a bridge or designing an advertising campaign, the people who put together the best teams and work together the best, are the ones who succeed. You have done this all before. You have had job interviews and learnt what makes you a strong ‘employee’. You have resolved disputes between kids and neighbours and partners. You have learnt to surround yourself with people who are like-minded and can help you on the journey, not distract you. These are life lessons, not classroom lessons, that make you as prepared as any to thrive at university.
Don’t doubt your ability to be successful at study, just because it has been a long time. If you have made the decision to study something that you are passionate about, you can learn it, apply it, do it and finish it. There will be challenging moments, maybe challenging months, but you have honed the skills out there in the real world, to make study the best career change you ever made.