Life experience, developed skills, and a little splash of wisdom... Camila Franco, currently undertaking a Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours) at The University of Queensland, explores the unexpected advantages of studying as a mature-age student.
The prospect of diving into university life as a mature-age student might initially seem daunting. Balancing the responsibilities of adulthood with the demands of university study can present challenges. Uncertainties about fitting in and whether the investment of time, energy and money is worthwhile can creep in.
But here's the exciting news: your life experiences can be powerful assets on this academic journey.
Drawing from my own transformation – a shift from a decade-long stint in the education industry to pursuing a long-held passion for psychology through university studies at the age of 40 – I uncovered that life experience is a secret weapon to thrive as a mature-age student.
In this article, I'm thrilled to share how being a mature-age student has not only helped me perform remarkably well but also reshaped my perspective, turning self-doubt into self-assurance.
1. You're ready to learn
As a student with life experience, you can more easily see the value in each lesson, assignment and bit of knowledge gained during your studies. You understand that these are direct investments in your future as a professional in your chosen field.
Drawing from your previous professional background, your maturity enables you to grasp the importance of what you're learning and its direct connection to developing expertise in your field. As a result, your focus shifts to the learning process, which improves assignment performance and empowers you to apply your new knowledge to real-life scenarios.
2. You have an invaluable set of transferrable skills
While it might feel like starting from scratch, think again. Your life's toolkit is brimming with transferable skills that give you a head start.
Public speaking, problem-solving, critical thinking – these are your allies. Even essay topics and research ideas can be plucked from your rich experiences.
3. You're better at managing your time
Those years between high school graduation and now – they're not just numbers. They represent a wealth of life lessons that can be skilfully utilised as a mature-age student.
Think about it: time management. An essential skill honed while working, raising a family, or pursuing previous courses. This skill is a golden ticket, granting us the ability to craft effective study schedules, prioritise tasks, and gracefully handle the avalanche of learning activities – from readings and lectures to exercises, assessments, and exams.
Plus, it’s not just about academics; these time management skills spill over, striking the perfect equilibrium between studies and personal life.
4. You know what you want
Mature-age students excel at informed decision-making. With a wealth of experience, you're not blindly stepping into a program of study. You've done your homework, pinpointing the program that resonates.
This clarity empowers you to delve deeper into potential career paths, focusing on areas that truly ignite your passion. This tailored approach means you can strategically choose electives and build networks that align with your aspirations.
5. You're not afraid to get involved
Our array of life experiences enriches our approach to socialising at university. The campus is a vibrant social scenario full of opportunities. Life experience has taught us that embracing opportunities promotes personal and professional growth.
As mature-age students, we can bring a lot to the table, making us eager and confident to explore new ventures. Maintaining an open-minded approach makes it easy to find activities to get involved in. Whether it's mentoring new students, volunteering for a cause close to your heart, or participating in social groups, you'll find numerous ways to connect. This is the perfect setting to extend our social circles in areas we're passionate about and uncover even more exciting social opportunities.
While the apprehension of returning to university life is only natural, mature-age students can conquer challenges by drawing upon their reservoir of life-acquired skills. With time, prioritisation becomes second nature, your appetite for learning grows, and your social contributions become invaluable.
Discover why now is the perfect time to return to study