My mature student journey, so far…

An image of a group of university of Kent students working togetherFrom high speed trains to Renaissance paintings, that’s one way in which I could sum up my year so far! My journey to university has been a little different to many I guess. It all started with a growing passion for visiting art galleries and museums, and then a few years ago taking a humanities access course with the Open University, and more recently leaving the company I worked for – a well-known train operator in the UK. Yes, it was a huge decision to make, but I am so pleased I did.

Looking back to when I was 18, I think I was quite immature and didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life, so after my A-Levels I just started working full-time. As in the words of a famous song, ‘life is what happens to you, while you’re busy making other plans’, and that to be honest is exactly how my last twenty-one years have gone. There has been one niggling thought in the back of my mind though for at least six or seven of those years, and that has been to achieve a degree.

The support from the university during the application process and right through to Freshers’ Week was amazing. I can remember feeling incredibly nervous and out-of-place when I made an informal visit in January this year, but that prepared me well for the applicant day with the practical interview in February. Now almost at the end of my first term, I feel completely comfortable in my surroundings and am so pleased with what I have achieved so far. There are so many amazing staff here, and such great people in my classes too.

There is still plenty of other support available should I or others need it, such as the Student Support and Wellbeing Services or the Kent Union Advice Centre. When I started in September I took advantage of several mature student study workshops provided by the Student Learning Advisory Service. I am also a member of the Mature Students Society who hold regular lunch meets during term time and a night out once a month. It’s a brilliant way to make new friends and share experiences.

I am a firm believer that there are right times in life to do things, and I know this is the right time for me. My time! I am also fully aware that there is going to be a lot of hard work ahead of me, but for now I am just really enjoying the whole experience of indulging in the subjects that I love. I may be older than most on average and live off-campus from the start, but I still want to make the most of university life; and would highly recommend anyone else to do the same, whatever age they are.

This post is by Ben Dawkins