By Laura Joyce
New city, new people, and a whole new chapter in your life. Starting university can be a daunting time for many, especially for us mature students
Returning to education after a gap year (or five), or an entire 20 year career is a big, bold choice, especially when you feel like you’re the only person in the entire student body old enough to remember the millennium. But, here at the University of Manchester, there are almost 40,000 students, and just over 4,000 of them are adult learners. That’s over ten per cent!
So here are my top 5 tips to making the most of mature student life…
1. Get to know your Academic Advisor
All students are assigned an Academic Advisor. It’s a good idea to get to know them, and for them to get to know you, so they can understand your situation a little more. Each advisor has office hours which are times when you can just drop in and see them without an appointment. You can always drop them an email to arrange a meeting, too.
2. Organisation is key
Keeping on top of your studies is, of course, the most important. Planning time to finish assignments around work, or family, is a big help. It’s often best to revise as you go when you have a lot on your plate. A favourite of mine is to spend an hour in the library after each lecture writing up my notes in a way that makes them easier to revise from, ready for exams.
3. Join The University of Manchester Mature Students Society
It’s a great way to meet lots of people like you, and with regular sessions you can jump right into your new university social life! You can join by liking their Facebook page, or signing up on UoM’s Students’ Union website. And it doesn’t stop there! There are loads of societies to join where you can meet people with similar interests, and make new connections with a wide range of people.
4. Attend Adults Returning to Education sessions
This is a support service for those interested in beginning education later in life, or who have already taken the steps to higher education as an adult. They take place on the first and third Wednesday of every month. You are required to book your place on a session in advance, and can do so by calling 0161 275 2212, or by visiting the university website.
5. Make use of the University’s Wellbeing Centre
Studying can become stressful, but it’s good to know that there are free relaxation and mindfulness classes at the Wellbeing Centre every week day. The centre is based in Simon Building on campus, and you don’t have to book. So, drop in on some meditation and just chill out. More information and scheduling can be found on the University website.
Being a mature student is great. Studying for a degree later in life means that you’re ready for the challenges of higher education. Dive in head first and you’ll be graduating in no time!
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