I’m sat writing this in the cafeteria of my university as an official ‘Fresher ‘and as I look around at the faces of my fellow students I‘m feeling all kinds of things as I’m sure that you can imagine!. I feel nervous , it’s a big thing and the amount of times I’ve been asked for directions or about modules in such a way that pre-supposes that I am not in fact a fellow student but a lecturer sort of confirms one fear- that I’ll stick out like a sore thumb. Well its almost two weeks in and yes I DO still feel MUCH older but I’ve also discovered that it could be a good thing.
Here is my list of why I’m glad to be a mature student.
1. Clues in the title. I’m mature. Well most of the time, but when it counts I can be quite serious and grown up.
2. I’m not here looking for fun/friends/relationships. Don’t get me wrong, I want to enjoy this experience and sure I want to get along with my fellow pupils and lecturers but I’m not here to meet a future partner or bridesmaid.
3. I don’t care how I look or if I have the coolest gear / tech. This is sort of related to the above. Of course, I care about how I look, I’m exceedingly vain and I am partial to a fair few Apple products but what I do / have is for me, not for other people to see and or judge.
4. I am not the slightest bit interested in Snapchat WhatsApp or any of the other instant messaging apps that frankly 99% of my fellow students seem to be obsessed with.
5. I know this is what I want. I don’t feel any pressure to make anyone else happy nor am I doing it because its what is expected of me.
6. I have a genuine interest in the law, more specifically I want to make a change. I know that sounds a bit soft and perhaps idealistic but I do.
7. I have real life experience. I’m 47, I’ve bought a house, I’ve gone through a divorce. I’ve been a witness in a trial, and I’ve watched Better Call Saul and Silk. OK, none of this means that I’m going to be a great legal mind BUT I’ve been though things and had experiences which are real and valuable commodities. Hopefully my time on earth makes me a bit wiser and perhaps a bit more pragmatic. OK OK the Saul and the Silk thing are a bit silly but seriously they are both amazing and if you haven’t watched them then please do.
8. Selfishly and perhaps ridiculously I hope that it helps to keeps me young-at least in the mind. I have a real phobia about getting old. I also have a certain attraction to embarrassing my own children. I love to see their faces when I come out with a word that they feel is ‘theirs’ or knowing the lyrics to a highly inappropriate rap song (of which there are countless). It gives me great joy and I now have a regular and reliable source of the most up to date of all things ‘dench’.
9. I want to keep my mind active. I am a doer, I can’t not be doing things and this will certainly keep me busy.
10. I want to show myself and my children that its never too late to go for what you want. I was recently told that I’m about 20 years too late but I don’t accept that. The only limits to what I , or any or us can achieve are the ones that we place upon ourselves. Our dreams and goals are within our reach, its just finding that courage to take the first step.
11. I know that this is costing real money, something that I wouldn’t have had any real concept about 30 years ago- Going to university originally in America I was always aware of the nose bleedingy high costs of attending university yet it doesn’t really register until you yourself work / earn / support yourself.
So there we are, for the first time EVER I have compiled a positive list about being older. As I said I feared that I would feel old and out of my depth. I thought I would be in rooms full of bright young things who would eclipse me with their brilliance and smooth young skin but so far so good. I feel grateful, prepared, positive and excited. Sure I hate that they don’t have pillow marks in their faces at 9am when mine only start to fade around lunchtime and I’ll probably feel a bit of a twinge of nostalgia / jealousy when they talk of their night out but I’d still not want to go back. 30 maybe but 18, no way.