So I’ve left it until now to write a new blog post as I’ve been so busy in terms of studying and essay researching and presentation writing that I’ve not had energy for much else. But I’m nearing the end of the first semester ……and I’m sooo glad to say that I’ve managed to calm down. Thank god. the first 3 weeks were spent in a state of WTF 😳 but the next few weeks thankfully were spent much more calmly, I’d started to relax into it, I’d got the parking sorted, seminar locations sorted, supervisor sorted and dissertation topic sorted.
That just left the small matter of getting on with it. Of course after the calm had kind of set in, the next couple of weeks were then spent stressing about the amount of work I had to do. Even though I’m doing the MA part time, this semester is full time as I’m doing two modules at once. But I knew that before I started, I knew I was going to be busy but once the actual reality kicked in it was a bit difficult to deal with when I realised how much I had to do by the end of the semester. Which was:
1) 2,000 word source analysis essay
2) 10 minute unaccessed presentation
3) 20 minute assessed conference presentation
4) readings for each week’s core module (there is a LOT of reading)
5) research for 4,000 word essay for early next semester
This is the cover slide for my presentation which I’m giving and which will be the title of my dissertation:
But after all is said and done, I am really really loving this course.
And this is where I’ve been spending a lot of my time this semester, in the gorgeous Brotherton Library in the Parkinson Building.
It was definitely the right decision for me, and I’m really happy to have found what I’m going to be writing about for my dissertation. I knew it was the right topic for me when I found my photo album had loads of images of men from the 18th century in and not just cute ones of my very very cute pups!
Must be on the right track – although that will remain to be seen!!
But I have found another challenge. In a sea of youth and freshness it’s sometimes quite difficult to spot other (extra) mature students, without thinking that they’re staff. I’ve been mistaken for staff a couple of times, which to be fair I don’t mind as I am the exception and not the norm. But one of the difficulties I’m facing is feeling a bit alone. I’ve joined the Mature Student Society which is great, but I can’t always make the meet ups due to changes in seminar times, tutor meetings etc.
I also prefer the term older student more than mature student. These days you are classed as a mature student if you are over 21. I am WAY over 21. I don’t mind calling myself older became I AM older. Doesn’t take much to work that out when you see me, ok I may not look my actual age (I hope 😄) but I still look
much older than the rest. And I don’t mind that. I’m proud of what I’m doing at my age, but I really would like to connect with others like me. I know you are out there.
I see a lot around campus and on twitter etc about how to deal with your mental health when you’re an undergraduate and that’s great, but there’s nothing about how to deal with it when you’re a postgrad and one of the oldest ones too. I think that’s a shame. I’ve been looking a lot for older students like me online, not necessarily in Leeds and they’re not there. They must be there, I’m usually quite good at finding things/people online but it’s just not happening. I’ve even been thinking of starting up a Facebook older student group, but I’m not sure where to find them……but it could be a kind of ‘if you build it he will come’ thing as I know you are out there – if you are please say hello in either the comments section below or maybe email me – you can do that by clicking here 🙋🏻
So I’m now about to re-emerge into the world that I’ve temporarily left behind for the past 12 weeks and then the Christmas celebrations will well and truly start although I’ll have the small matter of a 4000 word essay to prepare over the festivities for early January.
But to end on the mature student thing…..I did meet another extra mature student recently and when we got chatting he said that when he started he felt like a rabbit caught in headlights – that’s exactly the same analogy that I used in a previous blog post (click here). And that brief 5 minute chat made me feel like I’m not completely alone in that sea of youth and freshness. There is still hope yet!!