smallcrow.jpg CROW (Counselling Resources on the Web)

Mature Students

Studying at University can be particularly demanding for ‘mature students’.

Mature students typically face life circumstances which from time to time interfere with academic commitments.

These include:

  • The demands of various ‘life’ roles. Roles as parents, partners, income earners and caretakers of elderly relatives are difficult to juggle on top of study. These demands can be unpredictable. Care and concern for a sick child the day before an assignment is due can place overwhelming pressure on a mature student.
  • Choosing to study may mean financial sacrifices. Pressure to pay the rent, mortgage, food, electricity and telephone bills as well as having enough money for unexpected expenses can create ongoing anxiety.
  • The demands of single parenting as a mature student can be especially difficult. Being the only parent available to attend to children’s needs may mean that mature students who are single parenting are constantly ‘giving out’ with less likelihood of receiving support and ‘time out’ themselves.
  • Beginning tertiary study after a long break from academic work can be scary. Mature students often face fears of ‘not being able to make the grade.’
  • The risk of burnout can be high for mature students. Pre-existing time commitments can make study at University a pressured experience.
  • Becoming a student at a mature age can feel lonely. Friends and family may not always be supportive and offer less than useful advice. The dominant age group of other students on campus may create a sense of isolation or ‘not fitting in.’ Other people’s circumstances may feel very different from your own.

What can help?

  • Establishing support networks with friends, family and other students before you need them. Support networks involve people available to help out when necessary. This might include a baby-sitting club, which works on a reciprocal basis.
  • Developing connections with other mature students in order to share experiences. For information about the Mature Student’s Support Group, contact the Clubs and Community Development Officer, Sam Lamb, at Sport, Leisure and Cultural Services, extension 4312 or MUSA, extension 4500.
  • Fine tuning time management skills to ensure work is kept up-to-date as much as possible. This helps avoid getting behind because of unexpected events. The Centre for Teaching and Learning is available to assist you in this area as well as with any other study skills you may need to develop.
  • The Online Writing and Learning Link (OWLL) offers a wide range of information for developing your academic writing and study skills.
  • Give yourself permission to study. Sometimes study comes last on the list of ‘things to do’ because of a belief that other people come first. Study is part of your work and you are entitled to give it the attention it requires.
  • Believe in yourself. Remember that mature students often do very well at University. This success reflects their commitment, enthusiasm and vast life experience.
  • Ask for help if you need it. You deserve to be supported.

Peer Advisors and Mentors are available for support.

If you would like to make an appointment to see a counsellor to learn more about this topic please contact the counselling service on your campus.  Distance students can contact any one of the campuses.

Please tell the receptionist if you need an urgent appointment.

Albany: Health and Counselling Centre Monday to Friday 8.30 am - 5.00 pm. Telephone (09) 213 6700.

Manawatu: Student Counselling Service, Turitea Campus, Monday to Friday 8.30 am - 5.00 pm (8.30 - 4.30 during semester breaks). Telephone (06) 350-5533.

Wellington: Student Counselling Service, The Student Services Trust @ Wellington, Monday to Friday 8.30 am - 4.30 pm. Telephone (04) 801-2542.

Massey Contact Centre Mon - Fri 8:30am to 5:00pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 contact@massey.ac.nz Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey