Being a May baby meant that I was one of the younger ones in my school year. I was always so used to being the ‘young one’ of the group, and when I went to university for the first time when I was 18, even there I was one of the youngest!
Why I left is a different story for another time, but flashing forward three years, here I am at the University of Salford nearly 21 and no longer the youngest in my group. To tell you the truth it’s a weird feeling.
Comparing my first university experience to my experience here in Salford I would say that I appreciate my lectures and seminars a lot more now than I did when I was 18. I think it’s because over time I have been through other experiences in life that have matured me as a person, such as joining the “rat race”, having a full time job in London and living in the “real world”. Back when I was 18 I didn’t really care for my course, I was more interested in partying and making friends, but now all I want to do is learn and I think that’s the best thing about being an older student, you know when to work and when to play.
I have to admit I thought too much about going to university for a second time purely because of feeling “too old”, but that was utter nonsense. Why did I feel like I had to justify myself because I was a little older than the others?
I was on the train once and the person next to me was reading a book with a chapter titled, “Nobody’s Thinking About You”. I was struck with an epiphany. It became apparent to me that nobody IS thinking about you, they have their own worries, fears, problems and thoughts. How could I be so selfish to think that all the attention would be on me? It turns out that it was all in my head and the truth is…no one cared!
There are tonnes of benefits to being an older student like: your past work experience being incredibly handy to use when looking for a part time job; you might find lectures more inspiring, as well as having more of an understanding of what career you’d like to focus on!
As much as it can be a little nerve racking going to university older than your classmates, it’s not actually as bad as you think. You need to remember not everyone going to university has just turned 18. I have met many students who are older than me in both of my university experiences and to be honest with you it’s never been a problem, age isn’t a big topic of discussion at university, everyone is on their own life journey. Remember, “Nobody’s thinking about you”, so you are free to be whoever you want to be.