Going to college as a mature student, whether your returning after many years out of college, or more particularly if you are going to college for the first time at a “later” age, will probably be fraught with many worries. Anybody who tells you differently is either not telling the truth … or they are lying! The worries can be anything from a minor concern that gives you pause to think, all the way to a stifling fear that actually prevents you from going through with it. Some of the thoughts that bothered me before I started included,
“Will I be able for it or will I fail and end up as an embarrassment to myself and my family”?
“How will I cope with having to do assignments and reports etc.”? “Will I be able to understand all this new-fangled technology stuff or will I just look a fool in front of a bunch of bright young kids??
“How will the other students view me? and “What will the lecturers think of an old fella like me sitting in their class”?
“What will my family and friends think of me going to college at my age”?
“Why the hell am I doing this anyway- what’s the point? I too bloody old for this sort of carry on!”
“Am I efffin mad to be even thinking of this!”?
The truth is that anytime any of us does anything for the first time, we are usually nervous about what is going to happen. Think about the first time you actually drove a car. I know I was about 16 and bricking it! My poor dad nearly lost his reason when he saw what I was doing to his clutch! Now, I don’t even think about the mechanics of driving – it just happens automatically. I’m not saying that this college stuff is automatic .. yet!, but it is certainly not as scary as driving a car, believe me. As for other people’s reactions, I can honestly say that my fellow students are really friendly and encouraging, the tutors are great, my friends and family have been very supportive, most are saying things like “fair fecks to ye. I admire your balls for doing that ..I’m not sure I’d be able to do it!”. But the reality is that you CAN do it. Age is just number. If you want to learn, meet new and interesting people and you enjoy new experiences, then just go for it. It won’t kill you I promise, and it’s amazing what you will get out of it.
Brendan, Alan and Aoife met at the National College of Ireland and are studying Digital Marketing together. They are all 35 years plus and this is their guide to coping being a student again as an oulwan!