What’s it like to go to University at 55?

What’s it like to go to University at 55?

I have wanted to write this post since I started my degree and highlight all my first impressions of life at the Sunshine Coast University as a mature aged student but to be honest I have never been so tired in my life. There are so many positives – in fact they are all positives and I love everything – you just have to be very very organised if you still have children at school and work full time but it is very doable.

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My first day

University is the bee’s knees and I feel it an absolute privilege and honour to have been accepted to study here. It’s a bit like the Groucho Marx’s letter of resignation to the Friars’ Club though: “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.”

And the first four weeks I felt a bit like I had Imposter Syndrome which I have mentioned before on our Facebook page – it is a syndrome where you feel you’ll be discovered for being a fraud. But that is mostly gone now and I feel great.

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Meal Prepping is essential.

If you want to go to Sunshine Coast University I urge you to at least go and see the admissions office as I found them to be incredibly helpful. They made it easy to enrol at QTAC, advised on the easiest and best options and helped me to get accepted into the course I wanted. There are plans, maps and instructions for everything.

There have free Guidance Officers, Personal Counselling, tutors online, tea, coffee and toast if you are doing it tough financially and the first subject you do teaches you how to write, reference and learn effectively. It’s like they really actually want you to be there!

I just LOVE the library –oh so many wonderful books, free WiFi and computers, staff that want to help you, a system that works, printing with $20 free to start and if you want to work on week-ends you can just rock up and there is always a computer free.

There are about 8 coffee shops and I am yet to have a bad coffee. There is so much great food from bliss balls to muffins, to full meals for only $5. There is no bottled water which I love, so there are taps everywhere. There are always car parks when you know where to look and as I have a six month permit I don’t pay daily so no queuing anymore to pay which I would absolutely recommend.

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One of the many quality coffee shops and food outlets.

There is always somewhere to sit in the shade or in the sun or in the breeze.  There are loos in every building so if you are in a hurry you are okay. And of course they have the pool, the gym, the running track (I have heard) basketball, netball, football, rugby and whatever else you play.

I haven’t found the work stressful or overwhelming but I have dropped from four subjects to three per semester which I can manage well and it is still classed as full time. I LOVE my subjects and I am like a sponge soaking up all the information being delivered. I haven’t missed a Tutorial or Lecture yet and don’t plan to if I can help it as it just makes it all so much easier.

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One of the smaller lecture theatres and with Journalism lecturer Rosanna Natoli.

I think the biggest surprise is that everyone from the lecturers to the tutors to the students in the class are friendly. I wasn’t expecting that – I thought I would be a bit on the outer but there are so many old people, I am just one more.

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It is like anything new – once you get your bearings you feel better and you will know if it is for you. I know it is for me and I would study for the rest of my life if I could – there is so much to learn, and though I may feel differently by the end of the degree, at this time I may never leave. I have enrolled in a Bachelor of Communications but I love the journalism subjects, the social media, and I am looking forward to the marketing and PR subjects too. Its all on the usc.edu.au website so take a browse.

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I would like to acknowledge and thank Dr Stephen Lamble. Dr Lamble was an author, journalist, teacher and academic. He founded the journalism program at the University of the Sunshine Coast where he was Adjunct Professor of Media Management and was foundation Head of the School of Communication. He retired in 2012.  I attended his funeral last year as I work where he lived, and in his eulogy I found out he didn’t start University until later in life and had actually had many different jobs prior to obtaining his degree. Once he started Journalism he flourished and completed his masters, his PhD, lectured and had enormous respect from his peers, students and colleagues.  It gave me hope that maybe I could also do that. Then after speaking to another lecturer and friend,  Jacinta Elks who encouraged me to find out more and assured me I could do it, I started my journey. My grateful thanks to both and also to Dr Lamble’s wife Lyn, a huge thank you for the book and your support.


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Dr Stephen Lamble with his text book we use.

Photo courtesy of the Sunshine Coast Daily.

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