Experience of a ‘mature’ student

Hello, my name is Nicole.

I am a student nurse.

However, this does not define me. I am also a cook, a cleaner, a laundrette, agony aunt, teacher; a few roles I uphold as a wife and a mother. Identified as a ‘mature’ student at the ripe old age of 32, why did I choose to go back to school?

To start a degree at this time in my life has been no easy feat; weighing up finances, making cut backs and ensuring my husband was on board before I could even consider applying for this course. A rollercoaster of emotions from submitting my UCAS application, thinking I’m too old, too long out of school to even be considered; attending the interview day feeling intimidated by the young, intelligent applicants I would be measured against; first time placement anxieties; stressing I’m not academic enough to complete assignments well. The secret here is that everyone is apprehensive at times, there will be tears at some point (I’ve had mine!) but those that are passionate and put in the work get through. I’ve got through. I will get to the end.

The faculty are very experienced, knowledgeable and approachable; striving to support the cohort with their learning and development. Make use of them, they don’t bite!

Does having small children jeopardise my progression? Not at all. I feel being a mother attributes to my development and success as a student nurse. Despite childcare worries, ‘mummy guilt’ having to stay away, work long hours, missing school functions; my children have given me life experience, empathy towards parents and patients on a personal level, communication skills and knowledge of childhood behaviours to name a few. I won’t lie, it is hard trying to juggle home life, full time placement, revision and assignments proving important to prioritise (my poor husband has taken the back burner!). Being busy all of the time has made me utilise what little time I have free to focus on my uni work thus developing essential good time keeping skills and organisation.

The first two years of my training have flown by and I’m sure the final year will be over in the blink of an eye which is slightly terrifying! In just over a year my children will get their mummy back, my husband, his wife. They keep me going. They are proud of me and the reason I am doing this. I am showing my children that no matter what, you can follow your dreams and achieve anything you set your mind to.


Author: Nicole Elliott, Year 2 student

Disclaimer: This blog contains personal opinions of students only and does not necessarily represent the views of the Children’s Nursing team, School of Health Sciences or the University of Surrey.

If you’re interested in writing a blog post for us – whether it’s a one-off about something in Nursing you’re passionate on, or as a regular contributor, please email Beth Phillips (bp00183@surrey.ac.uk), Ellie Mee (em00607@surrey.ac.uk),  Maddie McConnell (mm01664@surrey.ac.uk) or Tia Dolphin (td00227@surrey.ac.uk) – we’d love to hear from you!