The time has finally arrived, so I want to explain how I came to the point of being a ‘mature’ student, and how this shaped my journey.
Ok, so it wasn’t decades ago that I was awaiting my A-Level results and deciding what to do with my summer (and more importantly in September), but it’s amazing how 6 years out of practice can make thinking about returning to study fill me with dread.
I was adamant at 17 that I was not ready for university, and I wanted to experience the workplace. Having worked in almost every sector out there (trust me!) from health to motor trade, time was flying by and I felt increasingly scared of returning to education. I would speak to friends at University and secretly wish that I could apply and get my degree that I only dreamt of turning into a reality.
It was only last year that I found the courage to finally take the first steps. My A-levels were not relevant, but my work experience and volunteer work that I had undertaken over the years aided my application to do my Access to Higher Education Health Professions at college locally to where I was living. Much to my surprise, there were so many other people in exactly the same situation as myself and it was a totally different experience to school. Everyone was there because they 100% wanted to be, and I made some of the best friends who were the greatest support.
When it came to UCAS, the work experience again helped and was great to talk about when I was eventually offered an interview. For Occupational Therapy, it is vital to have worked in the care sector but I had also learnt interview skills, and even skills I had learnt in other roles had helped me to adapt to the situations. My interviewers were interested in how I could use these skills to enrich my learning.
Moving 200 miles away is a big step, but I truly had exhausted the opportunities in little old Dorset and Plymouth provides the great balance of a city with new experiences with a short drive to the countryside.
I cannot express enough, to anyone considering returning to study, to start taking the steps towards getting their degree of choice. It isn’t as scary as you’d think and despite my journey here not being ‘plain sailing’ I can genuinely say I wouldn’t change a thing - I love being a ‘mature’ student!