Being a mature student
I never intended to come back into education as a mature student, but the birth of my son delayed my education for a while.
It had always been my dream to gain a chemistry degree, but I was worried that I wouldn’t fit in and be too old and rusty in my subject area. I assumed that everybody else would know so much more than me, but I when I started university I realised it was difficult for everybody and we were all in the same boat; this really helped us bond.
The week before starting university, I attended the Mature Student Orientation Program which gave me a better feel for the University and it built my confidence knowing the support services that were available to help if I ever encountered any difficulties.
Initially I didn’t understand the funding available and the assistance I would receive – childcare, grants, loans etc and my main concern was how would I manage. I’ve survived, and knowing there are systems in place to help if I ever did need financial assistance certainly makes me feel better about my studies. I would advise anybody wishing to embark on a degree program to speak to the university, they can give you all the information you need.
Newcastle University had a good reputation for its Chemistry degree programme and is also close to my home, which meant I didn’t have to relocate and upset my children’s education – definitely a benefit. Travelling to university every day can be exhausting though, it takes me an hour to get to university, it’s a bit tough at the moment but it only makes me work harder to gain the best results.
The University has allowed me to develop my skills and the lecturers are always on hand to help. In my third year I will be studying via distance learning as I am going on an industrial placement for a year, this will be an amazing opportunity to develop my existing knowledge and apply it in an industrial environment. I have also been put forward for a departmental research project, which should allow me to develop my skills further.
The library facilities at the University are great they have all the books I ever needed, with multiple copies. The labs have recently been modernised and are fantastic. The computing facilities often get pretty crammed and it can be difficult to get a computer, although there are numerous hotspots so if you bring your own laptop you will always be able to connect to the network.
Your experience so far
University so far has been an enjoyable experience which has opened new doors and new opportunities I had never dreamed of. If you want a university where the staff are always prepared to help and your passionate about your subject get yourself to Newcastle University. It will be the best decision you’ll ever make.