Today I found out that I have passed my first year of university *woohoo*, so I thought this would be a great time to sit and write about my experience so far and the reasons I decided to start university ‘late’. So I started uni at 21 years old, which believe it or not is considered the age of a ‘Mature Student’… yes really. Being labelled a mature student isn’t exactly calming to a nervous 21-year-old about to start university… but trust me, it is NOTHING like I had imagined.
There are quite a few reasons I decided not to go to university at the normal age of 18.
I went to sixth form to do my A-Levels, and like most schools, they made it seem as if going to university was the only option once finishing in school. I had every intention of going to university when I started sixth form however I had no idea what I wanted to do. I went through a tough time in my last year of sixth form which made my school work and course decision take a back seat. By the time it came to applying for uni, I just wasn’t interested. So the combination of not knowing what I wanted to do and some personal issues were the main reason I didn’t go to uni right away.
I was extremely shy and had serious confidence issues at 18, so the idea of even going to university and not knowing anyone was terrifying to me. I guess being scared was a huge factor although I didn’t know it at the time.
I soon got an apprenticeship after finishing school and I ended up staying with the company for 3 years and had 3 promotions. It came to a point where I couldn’t see myself progressing further within the company, so I decided it was time to move on. I decided it was finally time for me to go to university.
I had always wanted to go to university but life had just got in the way as it does. I came to a point in my life where I realised it was now or never. I wanted to go to uni so that I had a chance of a better career and would be able to earn enough money while doing something I actually enjoyed. My confidence had grown such an incredible amount since starting the apprenticeship and I just felt like I was finally ready for it.
My experience at university so far has been amazing. I’ve met people I know I’ll be friends with for a long time and I’m really enjoying my course. I also love the city I’m studying in (Leeds). I’ve just moved into a new house with a few of my friends and I’m really excited to start my first year. My confidence has improved slightly, however, I am still terrified of presentation and group work. We’ve had to do so much though that I’ve realised that everyone feels the same way. Being at university has certainly taught me the value of money. Having previously worked for a good monthly salary, I struggled in my first term and blew my loan in the first month. I’ve had to budget properly and constantly ask myself… “do I really need this?”… I always want to say yes but we all know it’s not true. In my second year, I plan on getting a job so I’ll keep you updated on how it is juggling the social life, academics and job sides to uni life.
Well, thanks so much for reading and I hope this could help any readers who are a little older and thinking of starting university. You really aren’t ever too old and I wish you the best of luck.