attending university as a mature student despite mental health struggles
I didn’t think I
would ever go to university. At the age of eighteen, I was struggling with my mental
health and began seeking help. I had the pressure of my college, asking what I
was going to do when I left and I had applied for university in case I had a
change of heart over the summer, despite not really knowing what exactly I
wanted to do. I still felt like I was too young to know what was next. I had
been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder when I was in my last year of college.
This really clouded my thought process when thinking about my life
What I came to
realise in the years after this is that I had to take time in finding where my
passions were. I was twenty-one when I worked in a management position which
exposed me to Human Resources. After a few months, I realised it was the
direction I wanted my career to go in. That is what led me to go to university
last year, at the age of twenty-three. I felt proud of myself for pushing
forward and finally taking this step to study a subject that really interests
me. However, I was also nervous about my age. I had thought of it as a good
thing as I had the prior experience to give myself that confidence within my
work. The only thing was that I was concerned I’d be seen as ‘too old’ to be
there. I had heard this from a lot of people, including friends of mine, who
were mature students.
The way I started to see
it, as first semester began, was an opportunity for me to get back into an
academic environment where I could learn new skills. Although I think about
this in a positive way, I do have moments where I feel a sense of shame. Other
people my age have full-time jobs, or an actual career that they are
progressing in or they have their own flat or have
bought a house. They seem many steps ahead of me, despite being the same age. I
have spent a lot of time second guessing my decision in going to university as
an older student and wonder if it is too late. Despite these feelings, I have
realised that it is never too late. If you are chasing your passion and are
driven towards a career goal, then you should do it. It is true when they say
‘life is too short’ and that we should be doing things that make us happy. I
never want to be stuck in a job that makes me unhappy and I want to make real
changes with my degree and knowledge once I graduate. University will come with
some low points where my mental health will suffer and I will feel stressed.
But I need to push through it.
My name is Charlotte, I study BA
Business and Human Resource Management and I am a mature student.