Starting university as a fresh faced 18-year-old set free from the town of Mum and Dad was some of the best years of my life. Making lifelong friends, partying way too hard and using my student loan to pay for Topshop clothes and tickets to gigs for bands I hadn’t heard of. That was just one experience of university life, however within the dominant cohort of 18 and 19 year olds, there were some wiser souls, the ones who were navigating the trials of university later in life.
I graduated 10 years ago with a degree I have relied heavily upon to keep myself employed to continue buying festival tickets (not so much the Topshop stuff; 30-something me just cannot pull them off). Working in social services is something I continue to be passionate about, but I had another goal in mind: to study law.
After a decade of being paid, the thought of giving up employment and starting to learn again terrified me. As much as I am a typical Gemini who fleets between ambition to ambition every 20 minutes, I do crave some stability at least when it comes to having a place to stay and being able to pay for it. I decided leaving work to study full time just wasn’t an option for me. Fortunately I found a course I can attend in the evenings and weekends, and voilà, I could still work full-time and study towards my new ambition.
One of the main challenges in considering going back to the books is the financial burden. My advice is do your research and decide if at this point in time financially you are secure enough to take on your course. Talk through your plans with those around you. It’s amazing how much another perspective can help your already clouded thinking at that point.
Walking into that lecture hall for the first time is a stomach in mouth moment. You will be nervous, in fact you will probably loiter outside for 10 minutes wondering if you made the right decision. Use that opportunity to speak to the other loiterers because I guarantee they are thinking the same thing. The opportunity to make friends exists in this interaction. Give a few smiles, offer a pen to the person who is literally emptying their bag on the floor to find one and make that conscious effort to seem approachable. They will be your best support.
Be realistic. Depending on the course you embark on it could extremely overwhelming when you consider the lectures, assignments and exams. Be prepared to give up some of the things you love, such as binge-watching Netflix or your Friday night work drinks. Be accountable.
Harness your age. I remember saying to my mum, “I’m worried I can’t do this, I haven’t been in the learning environment for years, I just don’t think I can manage it.” Her response was if you can get through a degree in your younger years with less dedication, more partying and living in student accommodation you’ve got this. My mother was bang on. You are older, wiser and will treat your studies more diligently than your messy 18-year-old self.
Studying is not for everybody, especially as the older we are, the more responsibilities seem to engulf us. Not every study session is going to leave you feeling positive and not every assignment mark is going to have you clinking the wine glass. Completing that enrollment form and showing up every time after a sh*t day at work, getting up that little bit earlier to read over some notes or missing a dinner with friends are all worth a wine clink. Beginning this feat is half the battle, which is a great first lesson in itself.
Author: Vikki Sinclair
Author Bio: Vikki is a writer, blogger, welfare worker and student. Growing up in Scotland and moving to Australia at the age of 25, she is a fan of floral, leopard print, notebooks and all things vintage.
Link to social media or website: http://www.thevintagevik.com