What it’s like being a mature student at university – first year back

It’s been four weeks since I finished my university exams for the year. I’ve finally wound down and am feeling more relaxed. I had to get over the feelings of embarrassment and sadness over the times during the year when I felt really stupid.

One example was my first multi-choice test (worth 30% of the course). It was okay that I didn’t know to bring pencils, and that I learned not to be one of the last people to file into the lecture theatre, as then the only seats left with answer booklets remaining were in the middle of the rows already filled with students.

What wasn’t okay was realising I couldn’t understand how to complete the answer sheet. So embarrassing. The answer booklet didn’t contain any info about the half page of circles (as they assumed everyone knew what they were for). Just before the exam started, I had to raise my hand and tell the exam people in front of the whole 120 person room that I couldn’t read the answer sheet. The examiner was seriously taken aback and wasn’t much help, thankfully the person beside me had time to whisper a quick answer that gave me all the info I needed then the exam started. I cried silently for the first five minutes of the exam, (while I was answering the questions).  It was a disaster. But my result was okay.
Just one of about five times this year I didn’t know what to do.

You don’t know what you don’t know.

Every assignment, essay and exam felt like climbing a steep mountain. Every single time. I know a bit more now. Next year might be easier but I’m not counting on it.

What makes it worthwhile is the times I sat in a lecture and loved listening and learning. The best when I loved the lecture so much I forgot the time and was surprised when the hour was finished. This happened most in social psychology. I love this topic.