Things I’ve Learnt as a ‘Mature’ Student


I wasn’t sure what exactly to write about today, considering it’s my first post and all (well, I did have this blog before but for some reason all my old posts have been deleted). Anyway, my life has basically been uni since I started in September, so I thought it appropriate to write about that. And let me tell you, I still feel mildly offended every time I get an email addressing me as ‘Dear mature student’. Yeah I have a name, and I’m not mature in the slightest (well maybe a bit, but I’m definitely way off what I should be).
So I’m a 22-year-old student at the University of Sheffield studying Journalism, and I’m absolutely loving it. I know I should’ve done it a long time ago, but taking four gap years and travelling/living in two different countries by the age of 20 did teach me a lot – so I started University with a lot of life experience, and I don’t regret starting Uni when I did at all purely because of that. But still, just when I thought I knew it all, I’ve learnt loads about myself since starting uni (good and bad), which is precisely what I’m gonna talk about now. 🙂

1. I’m not as much of a good writer as I thought.
I’ve been told time and time again in my workshops every time I write a news story that I’m too elaborate and creative in my words. Perhaps this is down to writing travel articles for years – I’m used to being descriptive. But writing stories for newspapers is a whole other kettle of fish. I was a bit cocky about my writing when I first started uni; I thought “Yep, no problem. I can do that, easy” but dayum did I have a lot to learn. Studying Journalism has taught me a new writing style which I’m building on all the time, and I’m thankful for that.

2. Being friends with people 4 years younger than me is fabulous.
Of course there are people my own age on the course, but as expected most people are in the 18/19 age category, and I’ve made friends for life thanks to uni. I literally have friends of all ages (one of my closest ones is in her 50s) and that’s how I’ve always been since I moved away from home, but I’ve never been close friends with people so young before. Anyway, it’s great, and they’re all fantastic. It’s the best group of mates I’ve had for years.

3. …But some people have yet to reach the same maturity level.
I had to grow up really quick when I left home at 17 and buggered off to Portugal, and I look back fondly at the times I used to pour boiling water over a chicken breast and think it was cooked. (How didn’t I get food poisoning?) I’ve come a long, long way. Anyway, it’s difficult to remember sometimes that this is people’s first times away from home, living away from their parents, and therefore a lot of uni students are vulnerable and inexperienced in a lot of ways. They might come across as confident, but often that’s not the case – I forget sometimes that I’m a bit older and therefore more hard-headed, which has led to a couple of confrontations. Basically what I’m trying to say is that, in terms of relationships, some situations just don’t mesh well together.

4. I’m a lot more lazy than I thought.
It’s safe to say that uni has brought out the lazy, unproductive side of me. Before I started uni I had a full-time job as a supervisor and wrote freelance in my spare time for extra cash. I could stay out until 4am and be at work for 9am the next day; this didn’t always go down smoothly, but I still did it. Well, since uni, I don’t have a job any more and I find it really hard to go a day without a nap or wake up for shorthand in the morning. I’ve got lazy – really, really lazy. But do you know what? As much as I hate the fact that I’m lazy, I feel I’ve earned it for myself. I’ve spent years working all over the place in busy & stressful restaurant jobs and it’s actually just nice to have a bit of a break. Of course, I’ll have to get some more freelance writing in to tide me over, but I’m quite happy to just stay a ‘student’ and nothing more right now. At least I’m honest, right?

5. I am independent. as. fuck.
And it’s the best way to be. I have ‘Liberdade’ tattooed on my ankle which is Portuguese for freedom/liberty/independence. I lived my life backwards before uni and relied on boyfriends to make me happy – I had two really serious relationships when I was in my teens and  I wasn’t being young the way I should be or giving myself a chance to grow; I was trying to grow up way too quick. But now, I rely on myself and nobody else and it’s so liberating. Thank you uni for finally giving me the chance to be myself.


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