Returning to education as a mature student

Hope graduate Kate talks about her experience of being a mature student at Hope, and offers advice for learners who are looking to return to education.

How did you find being a mature learner?

At first completely daunting, I suppose like any new challenge you set yourself however, for me I guess I was focused and it was something I knew I really wanted and something I was prepared to give it my all. I found the overall experience one of the most rewarding in life so far. To this day now it will always be my proudest achievement to date.

What made you return to education?

I wasn’t necessarily academic in school and didn’t go on to college or sixth form, I was straight into work as soon as I left school. I guess the main reason was to educate myself, I applied for an access course with a dream of attending university. I have always worked with young people in youth work settings where education always seemed to be a main focal point for discussion, it seemed quite a natural decision.

How would you describe Hope as a place to study?

I was immediately compelled by the aesthetics of the university, as well as this the level of engagement from academic staff and students was so warming. In terms of support and guidance I couldn’t recommend this university enough. Never did I feel as an outsider or someone who was made to feel like an older student returning to study. The community aspect and feel to the university and overwhelming sense of belonging is one I will never forget.

What advice would you give to a mature learner?

The advice I would offer mature students is:
Manage your time effectively, giving yourself enough time for social activities and ‘me time’
Prepare to work harder than you ever have before
Try not to let nerves get the better of you, everyone is in the exact same position
Have fun, enjoy the experience and always be the best version you can be
Expect to make lifelong friends!

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