28 / 10 / 18
I decided to come back and embark on the Accelerated LLB at the age of 25, comfortably in the mature student category. While I was chomping at the bit to get back into studying I was more than a little anxious about how I was going to settle in. How much common ground would I be able to find with the teenage majority of my class? In the first lecture of the year this concern seemed to be justified. The girls in the row in front of me were getting to know each other by asking what grades they had all achieved in their highers. It strikes me that my answer to that question would be “I can’t really remember. I sat them before Obama was elected”.
The reality is that most of these kids are, like you, serious about doing as well as possible in their studies and I now have a number I would call good friends, despite the fact they call me (affectionately?) ‘Dad’. However, it is perfectly understandable that a mature student in their late 20’s or older might not want to hang out with these youngsters all the time, either socially, or studying and working together. Therefore, my first tip for mature students would be to find the others! While we are in the minority, there are always a number of others dotted across the course. I was lucky enough to meet a couple of the other accelerated students quite by chance almost as soon as I arrived in Dundee and before long we had made been successful in tracking the others down. No matter how studious or organised you believe you have become over the years, it is very challenging to get through a law degree completely on your own. Having a group of like-minded students around you might be what gets you through.
For the most part, the work isn’t the problem. As a mature student with a bit more life experience you are perhaps better at time management, you start your assignments earlier, you are less likely to sleep till 1pm on a weekday. Don’t get me wrong, the content is as new and as challenging to mature students as it is to everyone else but your advanced years have left you with a degree of composure. You don’t get quite so flustered as deadlines pile up (this might not be true 100% of the time).
What you might not be prepared for as a mature student, and as an accelerated student in particular, is quite how quickly you need to start preparing for life after your degree. Your younger classmates have the luxury of taking a couple of years to decide what they are interested in. If you want to be a solicitor on completion of the Accelerated LLB, you have no such luxury. A number of firms recruit trainees two years ahead of time so my second piece of advice, aimed at accelerated students, is start looking at the kind of firms you want to work for now. Applications for summer placements at a number of firms close in December and January, so the clock is already ticking.
My third piece of advice is to remember to enjoy your time at university. Mature student or not, university life provides experiences that life after study will not. There are sports teams and societies that are open to all. Of course this depends on what kind of mature student you are. If you have two kids to look after alongside your studies then your ability to contribute to the mooting society might be limited. Speaking from experience I can say that becoming an active member of the Law Society has helped me develop good relationships and settle into life at university.
This blog was written by our External Trips co-ordinator, Rory Mellis