Don’t get me wrong, I’m not old by any stretch.
Most of you would laugh at the notion that I felt to old for anything.
Heck I am young enough that the idea of being called “mature aged” hurts, just a little.
And I sure share a lot of the same cultural identities as most students.
But none of that changed the fact that, when I first stepped onto campus, I felt another grey hair sprout and I couldn’t help but think “Am I too old for this?”.
Not only was there a feeling that I was socially isolated, I was worried with how I would cope with the study. Unlike these recent school leavers I was a decade removed from the education system, how was I supposed to keep up with content designed for fresher minds?
But the reality was I wasn’t.
So let’s take a look at 3 reasons why you might think you are too old for study.
1. “I haven’t been to school for years, I don’t know how to do it.”
Will it be hard? Sure, but we are chasing our dreams it wasn’t going to be easy.
Will it be too hard? Not a chance.
The truth is the content at uni is designed for anyone, with the necessary prerequisites, to handle. If a class requires a special skill it will be taught to you. There’s endless tutors and study groups to take part in. The system is designed to support you and if use everything at your disposal you will be fine. Plus what you have that these youngins’ don’t is life experience. You will be pleasantly surprised how much of a leg up this can give you.
I promise you, you can do this.
2. “I have to work, I need to have to afford to live”
One of the big disadvantages we can be faced as a mature aged student is your responsibilities. Unlike a lot of our younger classmates the bank of Mum and Dad is shut and, for some of us, we are now that bank. There is no doubt that is by far the biggest barrier for adjusting to study.
But there is hope!
First of all you need to prepare financially and you can read about that in our money matters series. However there are other things you can do directly related to study that can help with this. There are a boatload of scholarships out there for a wide variety of demographics, and some of them are worth tens of thousands of dollars.
And lastly it’s important to realise that university is incredibly flexible with a wide variety of study methods, with most lectures being voluntary and recorded. So you can always build your degree around your commitments.
3. “It’s a young persons world, I’ll be ostracised.”
The truth is universities are super diverse places filled with people from all walks of life. Your age is just a part of your identity, just like your race, beliefs and preferences. Not everyone will like you, but many will. Just like any other place you will find friends among your peers.
One advantage of being a mature age student is you share a lot of the same experiences as your lecturers and this can lead to opportunities not afforded to the more intimidated younger peers. There are also the plethora of post-graduate students that you will find in your social demographic who can help you with undergrad studies.
You will also find that the university will go out of it’s way to put you in touch with other like minded mature aged students.
At the end of the day age should never be a barrier to change, its never to late to change paths and strike a new journey.
The best time to start something new was yesterday, but the second best time is now. So go out show those school leavers how it’s done and chase that dream.