The concept in itself has the ability to develop an extremely weird and awkward feeling for some people. Being a mature student and walking into a classroom full of young professionals fresh out of high school!
- What are they going to think?
- How will they act?
- Am I going to feel like the “parent” in the classroom?
I am sure that many of these questions have crossed your mind, and rightfully so. It is easy to develop both positive and negative thoughts as to the experience that may or may not happen being the oldest student in the classroom. Regardless of your thoughts, your actions will ultimately determine the outcome of your time spent in college.
Stick to Your Guns
If you are enrolled in school as a mature student, chances are you have a goal. This can be new career, better life, more money, emotional reasoning. Whatever the case may be, always have that top of mind. Younger students may not know what they want to do. They are experimenting and trying to find themselves, where as you already have. When and if times get tough, remember your primary directive!
Unfortunately, sometimes kids will be kids. There is absolutely nothing that you can do about that. However, certainly not all students fresh from high school will be this way. Take the time to look for others that have the same drive and focus as yourself. This could also be other mature students. These individuals will be the ones that will be most beneficial to introduce yourself too and work with. Remember, maturity isn’t always correlated with age.
Create an Understanding
As a mature student, your focus is primarily on learning as much as possible and obtaining a career when complete. You are not there to party, or go out on weekends with friends. The general concept of what the “college experience” is, is usually quite different for a mature student. Therefore, it is essential to understand the difference between yourself and younger students. Understanding that they may have different ambitions and goals will allow for mental ease. After all, you were also that age at one point in your life!
In saying this, you don’t have to be the miserable “old” person in the classroom that doesn’t talk or want anything to do with anyone. Just be yourself!
- Chat with others
- Answer questions in class
- Offer to help someone who may be having trouble with work
- Collaborate with your classmates
After all, these are essential skills that are required in a number of working environments. There really isn’t a better place to practice them!
The most important aspect of being the older person is the classroom is to focus on the things that you can control. Be yourself and enjoy the time you have in this new environment. After awhile, people will begin to see who you truly are and you will no longer be known as the “oldest” one in the classroom. You will become a student, friend, mentor, leader etc. You can be anything you set out to be!