College at 30 – Pros and Cons

So coming up to the end of September and thus my first month as a college student is drawing to a close, with only a few more weeks until half term too. So how have I been doing and what has been the good and bad points of going to college as a mature student?

Thankfully I’m only in for three days a week, one of which is purely GCSE Maths. I thought this would be my hardest day but actually it’s probably the less stressful. Whilst I am the oldest in the classroom (everyone is 19 or under) and whilst I am currently studying some of my least favourite areas (fractions, ratios and percentages) I am understanding a lot better then I did as a teenager. Downside is… well I’m in a class full of teenagers and there is a small group of them who clearly don’t give a damn about passing or learning anything. This means often can’t hear the teacher or I am trying to work a problem out but find it hard because the group of trouble makers are loudly discussing unrelated and rather disrespectful topics.  Thankfully they have an addiction to sugary drinks and these cannot be drunk in the classrooms so if they want a drink they have to leave the room, thus giving us some peace for a few seconds. It’s lovely and I am okay with them ruining their teeth and missing bits of class if means I actually hear the teacher and do my work. Sucks to be them, right?

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Hairdressing has been interesting. We have a group of young girls who did their Level 1 last year and currently they are bored because they are basically re-learning stuff. But what I don’t like about them is that they are not very polite to the staff, they seem to think they are better then everyone else and have spoken about us mature students thinking we cannot hear them. Of course the mature students are being… well mature. None of us care what they are saying because we all know they are just teenage girls and they’ll one day learn that isn’t acceptable behaviour. We just accept they have their clique and we’ll speak to them for help when needed. For example one student is from Ukraine and her English isn’t amazing so she asked in her best English the name of a certain comb. I couldn’t help but I knew the girls who did Level 1 would know and so asked, they answered and I thanked them. But overall this course has been bit more exhausting then I expected. I also feel like we’ve be thrown in the deep end rather suddenly!

Canteen food is shoddy, but I take what I think looks decent as I get my food paid for. Well I get £2.50 towards food and drink. And I can’t use that on fizzy drinks, chocolates or crisps. I also can’t use it at Costa or Starbucks. Yes my college has both of these and speaking to some other students they all say Starbucks sucks and they miss Costa (it use to be in the canteen area but now is far away hidden in a small area in the university section of the college)  and the Costa has a very limited menu, actually offers Prima coffee (I normally ask for a ‘regular’ but when I said this at my college Costa she looked at me as if I said something rude to her) and I cannot collect my Costa points. I have tried the tea but it’s PG Tips and maybe I’m tea-ist but I cannot stand PG Tips… sorry but it tastes cheap and gross!

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As most of the students are youths I often get to see how the youth of today think is acceptable behaviour. Some Portuguese lads thought it would be acceptable to speak their native language to say rude and sexual comments about female students. Unlucky for them a mature student who I have become friends with speaks their language and could understand everything and told them (in Portuguese) that wasn’t acceptable and when they said “it’s okay because we’re not saying it in English” she laughed (as did the rest of us) and told them it doesn’t matter what language you use it’s disrespectful. They walked out of the room with their tails between their legs, but it sure reminded me of what teenagers can be like and think is an okay way to behave, specially in a place of learning. Most of the time I laugh at the ones trying to be “cool” and “impress the ladies”. I also had a group of 17 year old lads wolf whistle at me and go “girl you look hawt in that pink hair” and followed me. I turned around and said I am not interested in little boys, that isn’t my kink. They soon left me alone and boy did they look embarrassed. Yeah because I bet their own mothers are much older then me!

So it’s got some bad points but the plus sides has been I’ve gained confidence I haven’t had in a long time. Those lads who whistled at me if I was a teenager I would have freaked the hell out and cried in the toilets. Instead I stood up for myself and told them I am not a cradle snatcher. When a teacher asks a question I’m willing to speak out with my opinion on what the answer could be even if I am incorrect, also happy to speak out and ask for more help or query something. Again teenage me would never have done that. When my Media Studies teacher asked what does the alien from Alien look like and picked me to answer I said “penis” the class laughed at me. I was correct but teenage me was like “oh god I’m gonna be remembered as ‘penis girl’ forever now”. And now that is on the internet and I will forever be remembered as ‘penis girl’ or something. Whoops.

Honestly I think returning to education later in life is way better then back when you’re a teenager. You have enough stuff to deal with as a teen and have little to no real world understanding. I feel understanding what it’s like to work, have a family, live on your own wage and have some ups and downs in life can really mould you and help you, specially when going back to education. I never understood how to figure out fractions in to percentages as a child but this week I learnt how to, have used it several times and almost feel like I could do it in an exam without fear in failing that area.

One thing I don’t enjoy as a student with children is homework. My son has homework, a book to read as well as some studying to help prepare for his Year 2 SATs tests in May. I have homework also which so far has been write a responding letter to a complaint, make a presentation about why I am on this course and now working on a draft which is part of my course assignment. Man… no wonder I’m always tired!

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