I already have a degree in Law, but I decided to study a second degree in Criminology, as I am keen to have a career in that specific field and I have always wanted to work as a probation officer. This career goal gave me the motivation to do my criminology degree, as I need more specific qualifications, to work in this role.
As a mature student you need to adjust your personal commitments to fit in with your studies. You also need motivation and support to complete your studies which is something I am lucky to have as my peers and family encourage me to study and complete my degree. I also motivate myself and keep on telling myself age is just a number and that you are never too old to study.
Struggles as a mature student and how I overcame them
As a mature student I was worried about how I’d settle in with the younger students and if it would be difficult to fit in. I would encourage mature students not to be put off by this as I found it is possible to feel included. To do this I made the effort to keep talking to younger students and now I feel part of the student community here at Beckett and we regularly communicate and work together. It works well in class to too, hearing different perspectives from students of different ages.
I dealt with my fear of not fitting in by staying positive and kept on reassuring myself that I can do this. I also kept on saying to myself, you need to be strong. As a mature student, at times I felt like I could not overcome my struggles, but I did it. My thinking was if you do not be strong for yourself, no one is going to do it for you which made me into a more positive and stronger person.
As a mature student, you will mostly likely have other commitments other than university, so you will need to adjust some things so that your studies are not affected. I have a lot of commitments outside of university such as being a carer for my parents and arranging hospital appointments around my university life. I also have health problems and so I need to balance things around my studies and prioritise my time for each commitment that I have. For each day I will prioritise my time and decide what the main priority of the day is. I take each day as it comes but planning does help to balance everything.
My advice to mature students
My advice to mature students is that you should never underestimate yourself. Be positive and keen about your studies as you are never too old to study. There is always support available from your peers and other organisations within the university. I never thought I could get through my course, but I proved myself wrong. If I can do it, I am sure you can too! Doing this course has opened a lot of doors for me already and will continue to in my career in the future. This is due to the skills I have learnt so far on the course and the insight I now have into what it would be like working in the criminology field. It has reaffirmed that a career in criminology is what I want to do in the future.