Starting over: Becoming a mature student

By Sophie Black

The older we get, the more we have to lose. This is why so many of us are terrified of change, particularly when it comes to our careers.

We have responsibilities, commitments and we grow reluctant to let go of what little financial stability we possess. Even if it merely feeds our skincare and caffeine craving each month.  

I too, had all of these worries racing through my mind as I typed out my very carefully composed resignation letter, trying to articulate why I wanted to leave my full-time role in HR to start over as a student midwife. This was my first mistake. I was trying to justify my decision to a manager who I would most likely never see again, and who would almost certainly replace me in a heartbeat. Seeking validation for my choice was normal, I wanted reassurance that I wasn’t embarking on an impossible journey. After all, giving up a secure 9-5 job and financial independence isn’t easy, but I came to realise that it is certainly never impossible.

So, how did I get to this point? I always assumed that my next admin role would be ‘the one’. The one to make me feel a sense of purpose and pride. Yet every day, in every job, I would fight to get to the weekend and dread the moment Monday rolled back around again. A concrete sign that I was ready to move on and make a change.

After a fair amount of research, I discovered that I was able to enrol onto a 12-month course that would provide me with the requirements I needed to study Midwifery at my top choice University.  I was never academic at school or college, so I accepted back then that I had little to no chance of ever pursuing my dream career, despite so desperately wanting to. I was overjoyed and also slightly frustrated that this option had been available all this time, yet I had only just discovered it.

Then the doubt crept in. What if I’m not clever enough? Fear is one of the main reasons people don’t seek change, but it is the main reason you absolutely should seek change. I am not naturally academic and so adjusting to the assignments wasn’t easy but with hard work and determination I got through it. Being a mature student can work in your favour, you already possess valuable study and interpersonal skills, even if you are completely unaware of them. Your age should always be an advantage and never a hindrance, the moment you become accepting of this, you will find that there is not much else holding you back.

I admit that being making this life changing decision is far easier when you don’t have children but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. Childcare grants and student support services exist so that you can take advantage of them, nearly half of all Midwifery cohorts consist of mature students, most of whom have children. Make use of the resources that are available to you and explore all of your options before you make any decisions because I am almost certain that you can make it work with a little perseverance.

After all, who needs luxury facials and overpriced lattes for the next three years.

Apparently, not me.



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2 responses to “Starting over: Becoming a mature student”

  1. Brilliant article Sophie, would you be happy to chat via email. I am at the beginning of the same journey. I have just started my access course and would love some advice.

    • Hi Brea, thanks for your feedback. Please can you provide me with your email address and I will pass it on to Sophie. AION

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