The definitive guide to being an older student

We’ll start by saying about a third of undergraduate students are older students (over the age of 21) and Queen Mary has almost 10k Postgraduate Students, so you are definitely not alone. Congratulations on getting into university! We’re thrilled you’ve chosen to be here, and that motivation can drive you to have the best time during your studies. You may have left a secure job, a family life or a different city behind, and this fresh start is bound to be nerve-wracking. BUT- You’ve been through many other situations in life and survived so you can survive this too. 


Learning to learn again  

Re-learning how to study can be hard and you’ll have to be patient with yourself. Over time, with the experience and maturity you now have, you will know more ways of working and have the skills to encourage yourself which will help with your studies. Get yourself back into working by reading, researching and focusing on your study skills. You’ve already chosen to do this course and got through the application process, so don’t forget, when times are hard, that the motivation is already there. You just need to reignite it! 


Keeping an open mind  

Having additional life experience can be an amazing instrument when approaching new things but it can also be a hindrance, a reason to overthink and create certain blocks in your attitude. If you stop comparing and start observing, you will allow your mind to be open to anything and that’s where the fun and fascinating place starts. You may think that your differences will be huge with other younger students but creating friendships and having social interactions with those younger than you can be enlightening and rewarding too. You never know what you might learn (and we don’t mean at your lectures!) 


Create working relationships  

With your age and knowledge, it will be easier for you to bond with your tutors and lecturers and this is your chance to create strong working relationships to carry forward too. Don’t be afraid to have honest conversations and take the time to ask for the resources you need. With your experience, you won’t be afraid to ask or say things and your teachers will respect you for it. 


Student Discounts are great  

That's right, student discount applies to you too and you will get great savings on tickets, shopping and so much more which makes a real difference in your day-to-day life. 


Working through finances 

You might already be financially secure when starting university and this will give you more time to focus on your studies and less time worrying about making money. You’re one of the lucky ones, and this is a hugely positive thing and you’ll be much better off than your younger counterparts as all your energy can go into your development. On the other hand, if you need to work, the jobs you can apply for are more diverse because of your experience. The chance of you getting a wider range of jobs from tutoring or researching is a lot higher and this is a great benefit to have. The Students’ Union also has many jobs you can apply for as an older student too. Just don’t forget to balance that job with your studies. But you probably know this and will already have the skills in you to adjust to your needs. The university has a handy finance guide you can read here - 


Work/life balance  

Don't do everything on your own. Seek out help, support and guidance where you can. We have a number of student support services as well as over 300 clubs and societies which are open to everyone. You may find like-minded, similar-age students and whether you want to create a support network or just find a friend to talk to, we have numerous ways for you to do that. You can also create your own society if you want to rally others to you too. Remember, the Students’ Union is for everyone and our events and opportunities are open for you too. 


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