Monday, 12 November 2012

Like a fine wine...

There is an element of apprehension when returning to study as a 'mature' student. There are huge benefits, but it's still a slightly odd position to be in. Reassured that in this day and age mature students are not so uncommon and feeling buoyed by a delightful lunch just for us old 'uns and the warm welcome we received there, a fellow mature psychology student and I headed to the main psychology building to register on the first day of term. Still feeling relaxed and happy after a lovely introduction, the very first person from our course that we met appeared gobsmacked that we were there. For the purposes of anonymity, here she shall be known as 'Cindi' (it just seems to fit). Cindi was staring at us and looking confused, so I said hi and smiled at her, putting it down to first day nerves. Cindi then asked if we were first year students as well, which we confirmed.

I didn't pick up on the attitude in her tone when she said: "But you older.... than us..." (picture, if you will, gum-smacking and hair-twirling) so I replied that yes, we were mature students. I only noticed it when she followed up with "so.... um.... can you still be freshers then??"

I'm now forming The Mutton Club, with the tagline that you can still use your brain after 25.

I'm left wondering whether this was just a snide insult, or the much worse possibility that the concept of a mature student is utterly alien to this girl; and the fervent hope that she doesn't plan to go straight into a field that involves working with people.


  1. Just pity them, Jazz, for being young and foolish. After a while, they will learn a little. This is the first time they have been out of school, away from home: and they are still, in most ways, children.

  2. LOL. I had the same experience. Returned to university when I was 30, I think. I returned as a sophomore, more or less. I didn't get any odd comments, but it did feel a little strange at times.

    Particularly when I had to take a freshman beginning geography class in order to meet some missing credit requirements. So this was a class of 17 and 18 year olds. Whoooooeeeee. Now that was just plain strange.

    I did love going back to school though. Amazing what a decade or so of experience does for your outlook on learning.

  3. One of the benefits of being a mature student is being able to view interactions such as the one above with a detached amusement!

    I don't pity them, I went to live in halls of residence from 16-18 and it was one of the best times of my life! It's a great experience and I hope they live it to the full, I certainly did. But I'm also glad that I'm past all that now. I can concentrate on my studies and I already have a solid social circle, I learned to fend for myself domestically a long time ago and most of them have to learn all that now while trying to get their degrees. It's a blast, but hangovers now last at least two days, I just can't party like anymore! Nor do I want to.

    I turn 30 in a couple of months, and I'm already feeling weird about that. I watched my friends all go through that "AARRGGHHH I'm turning thirty!!" thing, and now it's my turn. So watch this space in a couple of months and you might well see a public meltdown. On the other hand I've been through denial and anger and I'm currently bargaining. Maybe by the time the day comes I'll have reached acceptance.

    There are great interactions with the youngsters too. When I met one lad through other friends he asked me if I'd taken a gap year as well, and was really surprised when I told him it was a gap decade. Surprise that turned to alarm when I leapt into his arms professing undying love and gratitude.

  4. By the time fresher Cindi graduates, and goes into whatever field, she will be three years older. Perhaps, by then, she will have learnt enough of the world to metamorphose into a good people person ... or, of course, perhaps she won't (some of the most stupid people I have ever met, as well as some of the wisest, graduated with me) – but there's a real chance that she could :-)

    Coming back to base ... two good posts in two days is impressive: and don't go doing your aw shucks modest thing; it is.

  5. "Two days to get over a hangover" And that's not the worst of it. If you fall down it takes at least week to get rid of the bruise.

  6. Amusing story Jazz - great first posts!
    I went to Uni to study visual art when i was 21. A lot of my group we 18 year old A-Level graduates, some were in their 30's and a couple even more ancient than that ;-)
    Even at 21, i was considered a mature student by my 18 year old peers, and most of the time i felt i was too! 3 years difference back then felt like an almighty age gap. So it is interesting to read this post, in many ways i can relate to those strange feelings you refer too.
    Also interesting is that of the few people i am still in touch with from my Uni days (10 years ago now, eeek!) all of them are those who were older than me. There is hope for Cindi yet...

    BTW - thanks for the alert on my blog, much appreciated ;-)

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  8. I've been lucky so far, most of the people I've met have been very friendly and haven't treated me any differently. Cindi has been the exception to the rule (Or an outlier, eh Felix? See? I do listen).

    No worries about the blog thing AcerOne, I know nothing about computers but figured Felix would know what it was and how to get hold of you if it was a problem. Finding your blog rather addictive! :-)