Home mature studenting Mature studenting… how it is so far

Mature studenting… how it is so far

by Clare Mansell
Mature studenting… how it is so far

Just over a fortnight ago I started on a four year distance learning Graphic Design degree with the Interactive Design Institute. It’s something I have wanted to study for most of my life, but even so making the commitment to do it wasn’t easy.

I had to take out a student loan and commit to four years of work and I still have nagging doubts about whether I actually have the talent to do it. My experience of university up till this point had been the one term I spent at the University Of Westminster 20 years ago studying Media Communications. I left because I was offered a job, but I looked for the job because I was bored and university wasn’t for me.

Starting again two decades later, I spent half of the first week in a state of blind panic, convinced I couldn’t handle the workload and completely blindsided by all the university lingo, failing to understand I was doing two modules simultaneously and flailing about with my schedule.

The second week was 100% better and with each new task I am finding I enjoy it more. In fact at points it’s felt downright indulgent fiddling round with fonts and spending hours browsing the web looking for poster designs and yet calling it (quite legitimately) “work”

Into my third week the workload is intense but not uncomfortable. I can achieve it and I can do it without it being stressful. My sewing time has dwindled and my weekday TV time has vanished, but I’m ok with that.

After many false starts over the years, I pinch myself that I am finally doing it. Like most things in life, the build up to it (six months!) was the worst, it gave me too many opportunities to examine it and question whether I was doing the right thing. However I can say with absolute conviction that distance learning was definitely the right option for me. My own pace, my own desk and the freedom to fit it around all the other stuff that goes on in life.

I still have a mountain ahead of me to climb, but so far it’s feeling surmountable.

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Emma's Daughter October 29, 2013 - 8:32 pm

I got my college degree in 2009 at the age of 55 and I was in the classroom with 18-22 year olds!! It was the best thing I have ever done FOR MYSELF. You can do it, and you will be better because of it. Best of luck to you. Rcoyle at olemiss dot edu

pennydog October 30, 2013 - 10:30 am

I really want to study again, so many ideas and not enough money (I can’t get a student loan as I already have one from last time…

Nancy October 30, 2013 - 11:11 am

I have taken degrees both as a young 20 year old and then as a mature student – I was able to think more clearly as an adult. I knew what I wanted to learn and why I want to pursue that particular interest. I didn’t sweat the small stuff. I took criticism better because I understood that it was about my work and not me personally. And most of all it was an opportunity for me to grow – something that with young children I felt was disappearing. (One degree was a year full time with 3 kids including a 2 year old) and the other was 5 years part time with slightly older children and two postings… I commuted for some of my courses. It took some sacrifices. I didn’t quilt and had no money to buy fabric! But I have to say it was completely worth it. And past history of leaving university is not an indicator of potential success. One of our friends went back and got his BSc and then did a dental degree at 40. Quite a change from being an artillery officer.

Susanna Di Milo November 4, 2013 - 9:22 am

I went to study in my thirties, I loved it, even though it was a teaching degree and I was teaching alongside having two teenagers at home. I remember only having one tantrum, I was finishing an essay which had to be in the next day when my partner asked me what I was making him for lunch! The air was blue with suggestions. It isn’t easy, women still bear a lot of the home running. I just slacked off my housework standards, let others do it to their standard. After a year or so I bought a summerhouse, it was perfect – no one wanted to walk down the bottom of the garden to find me so I had study space. Good luck, but make sure you factor in down time. Crafting is a great hobby for allowing your mind to process things – that is when some of the best ideas come.

Clare Mansell (Maybush Studio) November 4, 2013 - 10:18 am

You are right about the crafting I think. I finally got the chance to do some quilting over the weekend and it definitely clears the mind! 🙂


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