A mature student perspective at NTU

ECCGhQlXoAElrwDBy a current Health and Social Care NTU student. 

I had never labelled myself as a mature student before attending Uni, as far as I was concerned, we were all just students together. It makes me chuckle that anyone over the age of 21 is classed as a mature student. For me, being mature isn’t the right word. I would say having commitments such as family and childcare is what sets me apart from any other student.

I didn’t particularly feel out of place as I went through the registration process. I was just impressed that I had managed to register as it initially seemed quite complicated. However, the core message of this blog is to reassure everyone who reads it that whatever your age support is absolutely everywhere around NTU. From the registration process all the way through to graduation and beyond. Unless I happen to be very lucky (I’m not), every single tutor I have had the pleasure of meeting (and there are many) has been supportive, helpful and in every way made me feel like a valued member of the academic community. The old age notion of no question is a stupid question really does exist here which came in handy as it took a while for me to get my head around academic terminology.

I think it could be daunting for mature students when young students have come straight from education, however I have not once felt out of my depth and I had been out of education for years before applying for Uni. We all have different qualities and learn from each other. Regardless of age we are all unique, interesting and have something to offer.

Important advice

There are of course difficult times but I have been fully supported by my tutors and overcame any issues I had, which were primarily communication issues as it can be confusing to understand what is required for some stages of the modules. My advice to every student is organisation. Staying on top of work and prioritising is key. No one will do anything for you, you have to dig deep within and push through as we all do and we all get our degree at the end.
I have known of students who have got to the end of year two and still haven’t got used to using the NTU portal NOW. This is the most valued resource you can have alongside the library at Uni. From day one it is important to learn how to use it and get the information you need from it, as everything you need and more is on there for you to complete all your assignments.

Does having commitments make it harder to be at Uni?

Having childcare and family commitments did create some anxiety initially as I was worried I would miss a lot of content, yet I found it easy to attend most of my lectures, and with resources such as lecture capture, tutors again being supportive and my own ability to remain on top of things it was never an issue.
Once or twice I have felt that I am missing out on the ‘real’ university experience such as being able to spend all day doing assignments and then going out in the evening with my friends but when I see some of the students come in with hangovers the next day I really appreciate that I am too old for that now!

What would I do differently?

I would have kept on top of work in year one. There were many exercises I didn’t do as I didn’t feel they were important at the time, yet looking back I wish I had taken in every single bit of information possible. The years pass quickly and the tutors are very skilled, knowledgeable people that should be utilised as much as possible during your time at Uni. This goes for all of the other resources such as employability, student services and the library team.

Final words

Remember that everyone regardless of age feels the same. University is such a diverse place full of exciting and interesting people and opportunities. Take them all while you can!

For help and advice whilst studying at NTU, take a look at the following for sources of support.
Personal Pastoral Support at NTU (general worries and anxiety, homesickness, loneliness, a relationship breakup, or a bereavement)
Support from NTU
Silvercloud: SilverCloud is our online system designed to help with a range of mental health issues.
Depression advice
Wellness in Mind: Advice and support for anyone in Nottingham experiencing issues with their mental wellbeing
Struggling at Uni? Go to Student Minds
10 Keys to happiness

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