I entered a science degree after nearly 10 years of life in the workforce. Whether heading to university means changing career, or just building your skill set, it’s a daunting idea for most adults. Here are the top 3 myths – busted – about life as a mature age student.
Myth 1: You are behind from day one – High school kids handle university better.
Almost every mature age student embarking on a university degree (whether for the first time, or coming back for more), worries about how they will compare to those who are fresh out of high school. Yes – there are benefits to stepping from one schooling system to another – however, as a mature age student, you have a skill set that is invaluable to university life.
You can manage time: you’ve got this far in life right? Partners, family, work, social commitments – juggling everything a working life requires is a skill set you may not fully appreciate. An undergraduate degree is just as much about learning to manage time, schedules and multiple commitments as it is about content. As a mature age student, you have this skill, whereas many ‘freshies’ do not.
Myth 2: Content is key – “I don’t remember anything from high-school … therefore… I’m Screwed!”
A massive realisation about university, and particularly undergraduate degrees, is that they are as much about learning how to learn, as they are about what you learn.
Remembering cell types or algebra rules from high school might seem like a necessity, but understanding how YOU learn best is far more important. A degree is a long distance marathon – not a sprint – and with years of on-the-job learning and problem solving under your belt, you are in a much better position than you think to retain and understand information.
Myth 3: It is impossible to live life and study at the same time.
Balancing study and an adult life, full of domestic chores, financial and family commitments is not easy – I’m sorry if that is not what you wanted to hear. However, it’s not as hard as you might think. If you are heading to university to study something that you are genuinely passionate about, or will cause a genuine positive shift in your life – then some small changes will have you succeeding at university and still living the life you love. That weekend of watching footy on the couch, the PlayStation you have cherished since you can remember, the after work drinks on a Friday night – some of these will have to go, or at least be less frequent.
When you decide to head to university, it is an act of sacrifice and in many ways, prioritisation. You can decide how much quality time you spend with others, or how many weekends are spent at the beach. You just have to realise that university will replace something in your life – but trading something good for something good is not a terrible position to be in. Coming to university for the right reasons is paramount to this. Don’t come on a whim, come because of your passion and drive to better yourself.