I obtained my first degree in Italian and Spanish in 2003, and never thought in a million years that I would be returning 14 years later to get a second degree, but this time with the label of ‘mature student’!
I had a few worries swirling around in my head as I approached the first day as an undergraduate Speech and Language Therapy student in September 2017. I was worried that I would feel really old, that I wouldn’t remember how to write an academic essay, that I wouldn’t be able to meet deadlines, and generally that I was making a mistake returning to university at the age of 37! I was thinking, maybe I should have just accepted and settled for the job of Speech and Language Therapy Assistant, that I had been offered at the same time that I had been offered a place at City. But actually soon after I started in 2017, I realised I hadn’t made the wrong choice. After working so hard and making sacrifices to get that place at City, I was exactly where I was supposed to be – pursuing a career that I felt passionately about.
As for those worries I had on day one, they started to disappear. To my surprise, my cohort was mostly made up of mature students, but that said I quickly found that differences in age were not important. To help with my anxiety around writing assignments and meeting deadlines, I decided to do something about it. I attended a number of workshops offered by student services at university, which really helped me to structure my essays. As for the fear ‘Will I be able to hand assignments in on time, or will I be like my 20 year old self writing frantically the night before?’ Well, I followed advice given to me by my lecturers, which was to start early and do a little bit each day, and it works!
Now, I am in my third and final year of my course with the end goal in sight of becoming a qualified Speech and Language Therapist. Thankfully I didn’t let my negative thinking alter the path that I truly wanted to follow in life. From my time at university, I have also learnt the important lesson of not being afraid of asking for help and advice even at the age of 37!