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Making the jump to start university is undeniably a massive life change for every student. Aside from the lecture content itself, I have already learned so much during my short time at university including things about myself.

I won’t have a set routine

The first thing I have learned is that I won’t have a set routine, and I should see this as a positive! As a mature student, I have come from a working environment with set hours, days and schedules. Thinking back, I even had a set routine outside of work. My timetable and lectures vary each week as well as my working hours, so trying to get into a regular routine is almost impossible. Instead, I have come to embrace this and now appreciate the freedom and flexibility this gives me.

Time management is key

On the whole, I used to think I managed my time quite well, although you could argue this was made easier by having a set routine! Now I have quickly come to realise how essential time management is, so it’s an important skill to develop early on. Assignments and deadlines can quickly pile up, as well as other commitments and responsibilities such as part-time work, family, socialising and hobbies.

Age doesn’t matter!

Before starting university, one of the worries in the back of my mind was how I was going to find the experience of being a mature student. My worries ranged from whether I was too old to be considering such a drastic career change, whether would I find it difficult to make friends if many of the students were younger than me, to whether I have been out of education for too long and whether would I struggle to adapt. However, I’ve learned that age definitely doesn’t matter!

Comfort zone

Some people may not believe this, but I’m naturally quite a shy person. I’ve found the best way to overcome this has been to force myself outside of my comfort zone. Even being a Digital and Academic Ambassador is not something I would’ve ever seen myself doing, but in doing so I have found a more confident side of myself I didn’t know existed. It’s important to be open to trying new things and saying yes to new opportunities can be unnerving but worth it in the long run.

Be open-minded

This ties in with pushing myself out of my comfort zone, but I’ve already realised the importance of being open-minded. Previously I might’ve declined invitations or not been willing to try something because I assumed I wouldn’t like it or wouldn’t be good at it, but having an open mind to trying new things, going to new places or speaking to different people can lead to great experiences.

Being creative with my learning

My memories of learning at school seem to be limited to listening to the teacher talking, reading the textbook and searching Wikipedia for information. As a mature student, it’s been enlightening to realise all the learning resources available now, which has enabled me to become creative and flexible with how I learn. Whether it’s listening to a podcast related to my course as I drive to and from university, watching educational YouTube videos or using apps to make creative notes and flashcards, I love that I can experiment and adapt how I learn outside of lectures.

Help is always available

For me, I find it good to know there is a huge range of help available. Although I haven’t used any of these resources yet, I find it reassuring the help is there if/when I need it. Available help ranges from mental health first aiders, qualified councillors, Personal Academic Tutors, even fellow students and more.

Despite feeling as though I have learned so much already, I’m excited by the fact I still have a lot to learn and believe coming to university has already been a life-changing experience.


Find out more about being a student at Chester by chatting with our current students

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