May 26, 2016
“Mature student life (yet never felt so young!)” – a blog by Philippa Jones, 2nd year Joint Honours in Psychology & Counselling, Swansea Campus. 0
September 2014 and I gave my employers a week’s notice after 25 years that I was leaving to pursue a degree in Psychology & Counselling. What a life change! After numerous stressful life experiences I had been drawn to the subject of psychology but never once thought it would be possible to participate in a degree in it. I’d worked in retail banking since I was 16 and had always wished I’d had the opportunity to further my studies but it just didn’t happen for me back in 1988. Then, at 42 years of age, with the encouragement of my two teenage children and a strong self-belief that I could do it, I was accepted to study at the Townhill campus of UWTSD in Swansea and completely in awe that I was finally living one of my dreams! Two years later, and I have just completed my 2nd year of study and feeling very proud of my achievements so far.
At the beginning, it was quite an adjustment getting back into education after so many years out of it. The support of all the academic staff very much put my mind at ease that I would be able to cope with the academic writing (this was my main concern). It took a little time to adjust and recognise vocabulary that was so alien to me. The feeling from university staff and fellow students made for a very warm welcome. Juggling home life as a mature student has had its challenges, although I tend not to socialise at university, mainly because I live at home and not on campus, and home is approximately 20 miles away. The daily compute is no trouble, lectures usually start no earlier than 10am, and I’ve been able to be there more for my children than when I was actually at work. I also run my own business from home making celebration cakes so I’m able to juggle self-employment around my studies with ease. I find that I can still learn while baking, just switching on Radio 4 is useful for my studies and a nice little respite from the text books.
Over the past two years there have been many opportunities offered by UWTSD. It really is never too late to build on an education. Nothing prepared me to become hooked on learning and I absolutely love it. My friends often comment on the change in our conversations due to my new wealth of education. I have broadened my horizons so widely with the help of UWTSD, the academic staff, library staff, and the solid friendships I have made with fellow students that I really don’t want the experience to end. I have had the privilege of becoming involved in a local dementia friends support group, offering support to dementia sufferers and their carers in a relaxed setting. I think my cake making skills have gone down well there too! And to end my second year, I’ve been offered a job as a companion to dementia sufferers in their homes, all as a result of embracing opportunities given by UWTSD. University life involves much more than having your head in a book. I don’t believe in having regrets in life, although I do wish I had taken the plunge and done this sooner!