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. It’s taken that long to recover. I’ve finally wound down and am feeling more relaxed. I also had to get over the feelings of embarrassment and sadness over the times during the year when I felt really stupid and cried through sheer embarrassment when I didn’t know what other students knew and did something stupid.

One episode was my first multi-choice test (worth 30% of the course). It was okay that I didn’t know to bring pencils rather than pens. And it was okay that being one of the last people to file into the lecture theatre the only seats with answer booklets remaining were in the middle of the rows of seats so I had to ask 7-8 people to stand up to let me through.

Then I realised to my horror I couldn’t understand how to answer the answer sheet. I couldn’t get out of my seat to ask the examiners quietly as I was in the middle of a row of about 15 students. I had to raise my hand and tell the whole 120 person room that I couldn’t read the answer sheet. The examiner 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.