Melissa Willcocks Digital Marketing

Returning to study as a mature aged student.

Your final year of high school is a little nerve-racking, with a whole lot of excitement. Some go to uni or TAFE, some hit the workforce straight away and some take a gap year. I loved those years straight out of school! You felt really cool being able to drive to lectures then leave at lunch and have the rest of the afternoon at the beach. I mean looking back, it was a really FUN time! There were next to no responsibilities, plus there were so many holidays, and parties every weekend (and midweek)!

Then you get married, become a Mum, then the responsibilities (and bills) really start to ramp up. 😅

I’d had a great career for about 15 years in Project and Event Management, and a side-hustle of running my own business when I had toyed with the idea of returning to study digital marketing. I would sit there night after night checking out all the different courses available I’d download the enrolment forms then just delete them. I kept telling my husband I’ll enrol for next semester then it’d roll around and I’d put it off just because of the fear of actually returning to study mid-30s with everything I already had on my plate.

Then one day I remember sitting at my job (that I didn’t love) and thinking “is this it?” is this me now until retirement? That vision alone was enough for me to fill in the enrolment form and SUBMIT.

Returning to study in your 30s, 40s, 50s or even 60s comes with challenges for everyone. Having said that mature aged student generally do really well as they are highly motivated, focused and they want to learn.

Here are some things to consider:

💻 Course Flexibility

There are so many study options available for us these days, onsite, online, hybrid options it’s truly the best time to be able to return to study. For me, having the option to study remotely was really the only way I knew I’d be able to get thought it.

💸 Financial Impact

It was a step backwards financially, and at the time you wonder if it’s actually going to pay off. Knowing I was studying something I was truly passionate about I was determined to do well and succeed.

📚 I had to re-learn how to study.

I never ever thought this would be a thing, I thought “I’ve done it before I can do it again”. Well, I was wrong… It took me around 6-months to get back in the swing of study-life. Taking note, researching, essay writing, presenting, submitting assignments online – the list went on.

📚 Sacrifice

I went from ‘fun Mum’ to the “Shhhh don’t disturb me I NEED to get this assignment done” Mum. My return to study impacted the whole family, but we soon found our groove (kind of). Knowing it wasn’t going to be forever helped. I’d study pretty well all weekend, every weekend plus 3 nights per week once the kids went to bed.

🧐 My final thoughts

I would definitely encourage anyone considering a return to study to pursue it. You’ll gain a whole different way of thinking and meet so many interesting people. And most of all, the opportunities to follow will be so worth it.

I’d love to know, have you returned to study as a mature aged student? What did you find most challenging?

  1. Claire says:

    Love this piece, Mel! The timing couldn’t be more perfect as my degree begins TOMORROW! I love the idea of endless education… whether this degree is my last or a pathway to the next, after years of hands on work in an area that I am pro, I am nervous and excited to start from scratch, to extend my mind and who I am as a person. I’ll give it a month before I’m calling you for moral support, ha! 🤪 x

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