My journey as a mature student at Warwick
Why did I choose this degree?
I wanted to get back into the driving seat of my life.
Well, there’s always many sides to any story and some I have covered in previous blogs, but I cannot pin it down to a single event that prompted me to return to uni. It was more like an avalanche of events that prompted me to go into higher education.
I was previously in the health and well-being industry, but tired of offering nutritional advice, because for every bit of positive research there was a negative. Because people are hetergeneous, what works for one person may actually cause harm to another. I since discovered ayurveda (Sanskrit for the science of life) and found this more effective at improving health and well-being than the latest nutritional fad. Fresh fruit and vegetables are the only super foods you really need to know about!
I initially chose the BA (Hons) Social Studies degree on the 2+2 pathway, because it was conveniently close to my home and way out of my knowledge comfort zone. I had absolutely no interest in politics, social policy or research before I started. I just knew I wanted to expand my mind and learn something that was new to me.
How did I manage studying alongside work and family commitments?
I won’t lie. It was a toughie. When I started my degree I was working 15 hours a week. But the stress of being the peace keeper and social glue of my family, work and study was too much for me. I could have just been mediocre at everything, but I am a high achiever.
I believe in giving 100% to everything I do, or I don’t see the point in doing something. So I was basically giving 300% and burnt out.
I switched up my lifestyle, quit my job and husband and by the end of the degree I am authentically happier, healthier and fitter than I was in 2016.
Wow, I don’t seem to be portraying the whole mature student thing in a positive light, but the degree was an absolutely amazing experience. I regret nothing! My experiences just make me more grateful that I had the courage to change the things that weren’t working in my life. I didn’t think I was good enough, but I proved to myself that I am capable.
How did I manage to balance my work?
I created a timetable and reviewed it regularly to stay on track. I also worked back from deadlines to ensure I had enough time to complete the reading, research, drafts, critical analysis, proof reading, refining and then I could submit the assignment when I was sick of looking at it.
As far as I can remember, I never once needed to ask for an extension, even though I was on jury service for a month. Organisation is key! I kept a timetable to keep me on track, although it was fairly flexible. Because, you know, life happens!
What are my plans after completion of my degree?
In 2020, I fell in love with my coaching module and instantly knew this is where my future lies. I stumbled across a distance learning MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology (APPCP) at the University of East London. The course looks fascinating, combining two of my favourite fields and I get to write a journal article, which I am, nerdily, VERY excited about.
The MSc course is another 12 months of my life from September 2020, after which it is my intention to run my own coaching practice, unless a PhD calls me to continue in academia. Oooh and I just found out UEL hope to offer a PhD in APPCP from 2022. Yeay! See, you never know what is around the corner. Stay hopeful!
What have been my favourite aspects of the degree?
Learning about topics and being able to apply my knowledge to my life has been great. I can’t see the point in learning something if you can’t do anything with that knowledge. I like to be able to turn my knowledge into something creative and useful.
I enjoyed making new friends, expanding my mind and pushing myself beyond what I thought I was capable of. I definitely enjoyed checking out the various coffee shops. Throughout my time at Warwick, I was always excited about being on campus. There is something wonderful about being part of a learning community.
Who would I recommend the degree to?
I would recommend this degree to anyone who loves learning or is at a crossroads in their life.
I would strongly recommend the degree to women who would like to be more assertive and confident and who want to do something for themselves. This is an act of self-love.
What would I recommend to potential mature students?
Be organised. Stay focused. Don’t give up! If you are stuck, ask for help! Manage your finances and budget sensibly. Four years out of your life is a small commitment. Breathe deeply and smile – it suits you!
Anything else you want to ask me about studying as a mature student at Warwick university?
*The person with me in the photo, preparing for go-karting, is my closest friend, who also wanted to be in the driving seat of her life. She returned to education to complete her Access to Higher Education Diploma (where we met a decade ago), continued to get a First class degree while raising two young children and became a successful primary school teacher. She has already shaped 100s of little people’s lives, by believing in their potential and being an outstanding teacher. She is an inspiration!