Studying at University and being a parent/carer, having to commute or work long hours to pay for living expenses can be tough, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get make the most of the situation and get an amazing degree. Here are top tips on how to balance academic goals, family duties, financial budgets and leisure time.
- Stay motivated and focused. You are here to get an amazing degree and you are entitled to all support services available, regardless of marital status, sex, age, number of children and so on. Need extra help with academic bits? Keep asking until you are given the support you need (some modules offer Listen Again possibilities, in case you missed a lecture or seminar, for example). Alternatively, you can ask your family and friends for support. Do not give up at the first hurdle.
- Does it really matter? Yes, you might be a mature student or parent – but so what?! Essex represents the world in one place, and no one is more important or welcome than other peers. Just because you are not a school-leaver doesn’t mean you can’t fit it. Don’t hide in your accommodation, go out to social events, and engage with other students. You can also meet like-minded people through the SU Mature students’ network.
- Plan, organize and getting it to work. Having loads of different commitments and responsibilities means you need to plan in advance and manage your time accordingly. It’s useful to create a weekly study timetable, monthly budget, plan family meetings and set your commuting times. Let your family know when you will have deadlines or exams, to make sure they are ready to help by then. Stay focused, follow your plan and the rest will follow.
- Keep it on campus. Make the most of campus facilities and save yourself some time and a bus trip to town. There are food outlets, the cinema and hairdresser salon, shops, printing service, groceries market, and so on. Everything the SU and the University offer is basically like going to town… but on campus (and cooler).
- Thinking about getting a job? Both the SU and the University offer on-campus opportunities for students throughout the year (for more tips on getting a job on campus, If you none of this tickles your fancy, you can job hunt based on your own professional/personal networks. Don’t let anything put you off just because you are older, have children, etc. – mature students have something crucial that school-leavers can only dream of - experience! If you find the right job, just go for it.