Being a mature student can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few of my tips to make sure you get the most out of university life at University College Birmingham whatever your age.
- DON’T act your age… Age is just a number and so don’t let it define you. At home, you may be a mum or grandmother, son, daughter or partner, husband or father, but park those roles at the revolving doors because uni is the chance to nurture the “real” you. Be yourself and learn to fly!
- DO explore everything uni has to offer, from cheap haircuts and beauty treatments to the best campus cafes, bargain cakes and bakes and affordable gym membership. There’s even help to find a job or start your own business and you can get reduced city centre parking rates too.
- DON’T make excuses…Yes, you may have 101 things to do when you get home (doesn’t everybody) but nobody made you sign up for uni so hand in your work on time and don’t get behind. It may not be perfect, you know you could do better, but give it in and move on. If you let work pile up you will only put more pressure on yourself.
- DO ask for help, even if you think you don’t need it, because you don’t know what you don’t know! From Kick-Start funding to council tax discounts, maintenance grants to bursaries, IT help to proof-reading and well-being sessions, there is someone out there just waiting for you to knock on their door.
- DON’T assume anything about anyone! It is easy to think everyone around you is more clever/more organised/ quicker or just better than you but chances are they are thinking exactly the same about you. Get to know your fellow students and break down those barriers, and you will learn as much from each other as you do from your lectures.
- DO make the library your second home even if it just to use your printer credits. Help is always at hand and it is the place to really immerse yourself in your subject.
- DON’T waste time. Say yes to every opportunity that comes your way because you won’t know where it might take you.
JUST ONE THING…..
There are a couple of other things on my own personal to-do list which I want to share with you because you will give me the motivation to do them! The first I have already alluded to – joining the gym. And next week is THE week so I will keep you updated. I also want to lay the foundations for some positive mental health vibes, inspired by the mental health and wellbeing team at the recent WelcomeFest. Their 15-minute sessions were so helpful. Now it is down to me to practise because as we all know, practice makes perfect. My first relaxation lesson focuses on deep breathing, one of the ways to tackle anxiety and that fight or flight feeling. This method comes from TherapistAid.com:
Breathe in slowly, counting to five in your head. Feel the air filling your lungs.
Hold your breath for 5 to 10 seconds – just a little bit longer than a normal breath.
Breathe out slowly for 5 to 10 seconds, as though you were breathing through a straw.
Repeat the process until you start to feel calm again.
Let me know how this works for you. I will be sharing more relaxation tips throughout the year.
Photo: BBH Singapore on Unsplash