Anyone else really nervous about starting full time uni this year? I'm going to be the oldest one there, aren't i?

(27 Posts)
TurnThatFrownUpsideDown Sat 22-Jun-13 14:36:04

So i got accepted on to a very competitive undergraduate course.

Of course, i'm over the moon! But as September draws nearer, I'm totally freaking out.

1) I'm going to have to give up work and rely on my bursary/loan.

2) My dd is only a baby (well, she's 5) and has high-functioning autism. She's doing well at school, but i'm worried about her going into wraparound care for 5 days a week. Just now, i'm able to work my shifts around school time.

3) I have a feeling that my class will be full of school leavers. I'll be 24 when the course starts- hardly ancient - but i'll feel it compared to the teens around me.

4) I'm worried i'm not smart enough. Looking at all of the classes in 1st year, they all seem really complex and science-y.

5) I have to go through the stress of applying to SAAS. No idea why i'm putting it all off.

6) I haven't had any correspondence from the uni yet - just UCAS. Looking at their website (uni), they say that my registration invitation should arrive a few weeks before classes start.

7) I've no idea when i'll get my timetable. So how do i know for a fact whether or not i need 5 days childcare?

8) I'm worried that I'll not make friends and will have to eat lunch alone etc. blush

9) I'm worried I'll get lost and miss the first week of classes.

10) I'm worried I'll be the class bore. Due to the low class number, i can't expect many of them will be lone parents like me. So i anticipate i'll be the one being left out of social gatherings/student nights out etc. I don't particularly want to go out with 18 yos anyway, but that's not the point.

Argh! I'm really excited and passionate about this course. And it will thrust me into an excellent career. Would love to talk to someone in a similar situation please.

cafecito Mon 12-Aug-13 00:39:32

I was your age in my first year of this degree. I have friends ranging from 18 to 49 on the same course. smile

When I started my FdA 3 years ago, 4 out of the 9 students on my course were mature students aged between 31 and 49. The whole group evolved into an incredibly tight knit and mutually supportive team.

The younger students had all ended up on our FdA (Foundation Degree) course through clearing, because they had failed to get the A level grades needed to get onto honours degree courses. Us mature students were there because the course was vocational and we were passionate about our subject! smile. We were able to provide a huge amount of practical and emotional support to the youngsters. They are lovely kids!

Fast forward 3 years, all of us FdA students - young and old - 'progressed' onto a 3rd year of study, to get an honours degree.

We ALL graduated with 2.1s or Firsts last month!!

I graduated last month. I got a First. I'm 52 smile

I also have a child with high functioning autism - he is a 17 year old 6th former now, but I still worry about my baby and he is quite high maintenance.

I get pissed with my teen/20something fellow students. They know I am a skanky old hippy - I have fed them my vegetarian student dog-food gourmet post-pissup hangover deterrents suppers often enough, they crash at my place when they miss the last bus and I love scandalising them with tales of 70s/80s debauchery.

I am older than most of their mums. blush but hey, I have a car, give them lifts out to our horribly rural campus and feed them. What's not to like! wink

xxxxmrsxxxx Mon 12-Aug-13 00:06:12

And don't worry about buying books before you start Uni. Borrow them from the library and see if you actually want to buy them.

You also might find that you don't want to join any clubs or societies!!

What course are you doing?

xxxxmrsxxxx Mon 12-Aug-13 00:03:00

I am 45 and just finished my second year Adult Nursing!! I have been going through a divorce, moved house and my daughter was in a car accident which left her severely brain injured during my time at Uni.

Go for it.

EmpressOfTheSevenOceans Thu 11-Jul-13 12:15:24

Congratulations from me too! And yes, you're there because they think you can do it.

I went to uni straight from school and two of my best friends were 26 and 30. DW started her degree at 28 and feels that she got far more out of it than she would have done earlier. Having worked for a few years & the extra maturity meant she appreciated it more.

Good luck and have fun.

h26swal03 Thu 11-Jul-13 11:52:26

I wouldn't worry about the age gap - a lot of people on my course were 40 and over and we all got along fantastically smile. Plus, since you are all doing the course you will at least have some common interests! I was 19 when I started but two of the people who I got along with best were 28 and 39 respectively.
If the timetable issue is really playing on your mind then just email, they have teams of people who organise the timetables and they are there to help you. It is pretty much guaranteed that you will not be the first, or last, to email them and from the sounds of things you need this information a lot more than others. Just explain the situation and they will help you as best they can.
Like someone else has stated there are usually a lot of different student clubs and unions you can join if you are worried about the social side of things - why not see if the Uni has a FB page where you can connect with people even before the course begins? This is a big step and you have done so well to get this far! Congratulations x

SunshineBossaNova Thu 11-Jul-13 00:34:16

I'm 41 and started my degree last year and I'm having a great time! I am older than a lot of my fellow students but it's so much better than I feared.

Some answers to (some of) your worries:

4) I'm worried i'm not smart enough. Looking at all of the classes in 1st year, they all seem really complex and science-y.
You wouldn't have been offered a place if they thought you weren't up to it. The people doing admissions on your course know you can do it.

6) I haven't had any correspondence from the uni yet - just UCAS. Looking at their website (uni), they say that my registration invitation should arrive a few weeks before classes start.
Completely normal. But I remember being anxious too smile

8) I'm worried that I'll not make friends and will have to eat lunch alone etc.
Sometimes I ate lunch alone, sometimes with other people. It was fine. And see 4) above

9) I'm worried I'll get lost and miss the first week of classes.
Google maps is your friend...

Best of luck smile

Just starting 2nd year midwifery here. I'm 34 with 4 dc. The great thing with any healthcare course is that we are all keen to talk to others and make friends, you'll make friends really quickly. Good luck smile

jen6jen Wed 10-Jul-13 23:47:41

I'm starting Uni in September at 40 years young :-) xxx

Ilovediago Wed 26-Jun-13 11:14:31

You'll be fine, in my university and my year group in particular, there are loads of people over 24 and even a couple of over 50s

Madsometimes Tue 25-Jun-13 07:23:52

I think it stands for equivalent level qualification.

It means that you do not get any funding, not even a fees loan, and that unis can charge you more than £9000.

I think my course will be £10,500. If you are doing a course with an NHS bursary then you do not need to worry about ELQ fees.

So you can see why I'm hesitating.

SnoopyLovesYou Tue 25-Jun-13 03:25:00

Madsometimes you're making me feel not so mad. I'm in my early thirties and about to start a second degree too. What does ELQ Fees mean?

Madsometimes Mon 24-Jun-13 11:38:19

I have just fulfilled my conditional offer for optometry, and if I go I will be 41. I'm still hesitating because I already have a degree, so need to pay ELQ fees. But I think I will go for it.

I'm just being a wuss.

FrenchRuby Sun 23-Jun-13 11:01:47

I'm 25 and startin this year, I'm really nervous too! I'm quite shy and I'm worried no one will talk to me because I'm old haha!

Startail Sat 22-Jun-13 15:30:35

I changed courses and went back age 20 my lovely flat mates were 21,26 and 35. You'll be fine.

Good luck!

TurnThatFrownUpsideDown Sat 22-Jun-13 15:27:05

Thank you so much, everybody!

I feel loads better already. I felt completely alone in feeling this way before.

I'm quite a procrastinator so i think making timetables for myself is a great idea. I thought that i could have spent the summer reading in preparation for the course but apparently i won't get my book list until September either (the prices of uni books is supposedly a bloomin' fortune, so i'm not complaining about the delay in getting them).

There's a chance i could beg ask my mum to look after dd for the first month until my timetable is properly established and i know how much childcare i require each week.

I don't want to book dd in/pay for 5 days, when i only need 2 or 3 for example.

They've also said - on their website - i need a CRB/enhanced disclosure before i start this course... Again, i'll probably have to enquire about this at registration. But i know disclosures can take a few weeks to process. So i might not have it in time for the classes starting. confused

I've already applied to Saas and have been awarded my tuition fees, but i need to scan and email them supporting documents. And i also forgot to apply for the loan and applied for the wrong type of bursary, so i need to sort all of that out.

I'll definitely do it Monday.

MyNameIsLola Sat 22-Jun-13 15:16:32

Don't worry!

I was 24 when I went to Uni, I had two children, eldest with severe SN so I sympathise completely.

Firstly, I know how nerve-wracking it is. Even as an adult, the anxieties around making friends etc is awful. When I got to Uni, I found a fair few people on my course were mature students and just as worried as I was. They're still good friends now.

The admin stuff is a pain, I found getting timetables etc to be impossible until late septmber so sorting childcare was tricky. Hours vary so much course to course so it's hard to say how much you are likely to need. On average, I needed two days after school.

Re the work, you'll be fine. It all seems so huge at first when reading the syllabus, so many new words and concepts to get to grips with but everyone will be in the same boat. I found most lecturers were great at making time to explain stuff. Utilise what facilities the Uni has such as study advice centres/skills workshops and get yourself into a good study routine because it can be hard when you have DCs. I always found it too easy to slip into 'I'll just make a nice dinner and change the bedding tonight and get into that reading tomorrow' of course tomorrow a child is throwing up or something and then the panic sets in.

In the end, I gave myself a really rigid timetable and it worked well, I rewarded myself every time I did a certain amount of reading or 1000 words of an essay done with a chocolate bar or a walk or something.

Best of luck, not that you'll need it. smile

crazynanna Sat 22-Jun-13 15:05:49

I have just finished my 1st year, and right up until recently was asking myself "WTF am I doing here?". I work p/t as well, and have a teen at home, and felt I was truly out of my depth with assignments,etc, not having studied for 20+ years, but now....I know I can do this. And so can you.

KnitMinion Sat 22-Jun-13 15:05:05

You'll be fine smile!

I started uni last year at the ripe old age of 32, and I'm not the oldest in my year at all.

One bit of advice though, get your SAAS application in asap. They say that as long as your application is in by 30 June then your student loan etc will be in place for the start of the term. Any later than that and they might not have it sorted in time.

TurnThatFrownUpsideDown Sat 22-Jun-13 15:04:33

Thanks, French.

It's a BSC Hons degree. I'm trying to figure out their timetables for 2013-14 (provisional ones are up) but the classes seem to be at different times each week, and some of the classes detailed on the course descriptor aren't showing on the timetable... I don't want to email them in case they think i'm a right pain. I'll just have to bide my time and enquire at registration.

There seems to be a lot of social groups and clubs associated with the uni, but i'm concerned i won't have the time for anything (really worried my dd will think i've abandoned her!)

I think i'll just have to do the 'Can i sit with you at lunch?' thing to everyone until i gain a friend. grin

Frenchvanilla Sat 22-Jun-13 15:02:53

And they must think you have the ability, or they wouldn't have accepted you!

TurnThatFrownUpsideDown Sat 22-Jun-13 14:59:22

Thank you, both.

Yep, i can see me talking about dd a helluva lot, as i feel that's the only interesting thing about me (plus i'll be missing her loads no doubt), so i'll have to reign that in before it begins, and perhaps find something else to initiate conversation.

I'm not exactly a social butterfly.

I'm sure that once i get in, find my feet, and get the first week out of the way, i'll be okay.

fingers crossed

Eeek! I can't stop looking at the uni website, and reading all the info about the course and lecturers. I'm just about to download a map of my campus and work out directions from the train station... I'm definitely over thinking this. I still have another 3 months before i start. grin

Frenchvanilla Sat 22-Jun-13 14:58:38

Well done! What an enormous achievement!

First, are you doing a BA or a BSc? That will impact on the amount of childcare you need.

Try and join a few clubs- one for mature students or student parents, and one for an activity or sport you've always wanted to try/enjoyed. Honestly, you'll have a fab time and make friends that way.

sonu678 Sat 22-Jun-13 14:48:59

agreed. at 24 you will actually have it slightly harder than those of us who are actually ancient. Most of your fears are just that, fears and nervousness. My advice? Don't be judgmental. Lots of 18 year olds are wonderful people and if you give them a chance, could become good friends. Don't force the fact that you have a child on them. Its a part of you, but not the only part, so if you are willing to be open and part of a group, then it will work. If every single conversation of yours starts with something about your kids, then yes, it will get boring very quickly.
Enjoy yourself. You will be fine.

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