The Mature student experience in UL is no doubt a positive one, however aside from organising study time, a whole process of events dictates my day. As all students experience financial hardship throughout their degree programme, particularly mature students. One parent families such as ‘me,’ who are constantly struggling to make it through the week, willing my Yaris to reach its destination, and often trying desperately to ignore the fact that my car could stop at any moment.
When I do eventually make it on campus, I become a tactical stalker , watching and waiting for any sign of someone moving their car so I can get free parking, as there is no way I have three Euros to spare for parking. After a considerable amount of surveillance I trail slowly behind a hapless student, saying, ‘ Are you going out? Too which they reply Tonight? Ha, No, of the car park.
The joys of creeping the car parks are just one of many survival tools to make it through four years, a teenage daughter who
wants credit for her phone and uses all my broadband credit because she needs to ‘Like for the one Who….., a cash machine that reads Insufficient funds, they will print that on my headstone, and the constant juggling of modules to try to make my timetable fit the school runs. After all this is organised than I have to study, make deadlines and try to maintain my QCA.
In all of this the most important advice is persevere, with one semester remaining, I’ve headed for the East gate more than once, with the towel truly thrown in. But even in this there is learning, to overcome the little adversities, the car park, the lack of funds, wearing the same wardrobe for all seasons, as even penny’s has exceeded your budget, even for all that persevere. The journey is short but hopefully the accomplishment will be long lived.
So I thank my fellow matures, for listening to my dramas and empathising, sharing their own hardship stories, a valuable support in UL , when you can whinge to random people and it is considered acceptable. As I face a , what is a matter of weeks left in UL, I consider the real world and it’s opportunities, and I am apprehensive but positive that my ability to persevere are tools enough to see me through.
By Bernadette Moroney