Building a community as a mature student

As a mature student, you will have a different experience of university life to ‘traditional’ (18-21 year old) undergraduates. You’ll have other commitments to consider, you might not want to go out partying until 4am on a Wednesday (although if you want to, nobody here will stop you!), and mainly you’ll probably have a bit less time available to do all of the fun things that normally come alongside a university course.
But this doesn’t mean you need to miss out on making new friends and building a community while you’re at Warwick.

As Student Engagement Coordinator, I get involved with a lot of student groups, events, and workshops that have many different aims but all have one common theme of building a community within the Centre for Lifelong Learning. One important thing I have learnt in the 18 months I’ve been working with mature students is that friendships can be formed anywhere, you just have to find ways to get involved

One great way to meet a whole range of new people is to become one of our student ambassadors – a paid group of students who go out to community events to promote the Centre, welcome new students, and represent the Centre in our partner colleges. We currently have around 20 ambassadors from a number of courses across the Centre who, along with gaining work experience, have also developed in confidence and people skills, and have formed friendships with each other.

The Centre also runs workshops, these cover study and digital skills as well as wellbeing. Not only are they are place where our students can develop skills to enhance their academic abilities but they’re also a chance to meet with students from other courses who have similar concerns or experiences at university. It can prove invaluable to meet somebody else who faces the same struggles as you do – it lessens feelings of isolation and reminds you that everybody finds university life a little tough sometimes.

If you don’t have much free time, our students can always build their Warwick community online. We run a Centre Facebook group where I try to keep students up to date with the latest news and events around campus and where our students have a space to chat, share information, and generally get to know each other.

My top three tips to meet people and make new friends as a mature learner:

1. Read your Warwick emails – as well as this being a sensible thing to do in general, you’ll also receive information about events, opportunities, and workshops taking place in the Centre and on campus.

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2. Visit main campus – if you can, schedule in an hour or two to explore the buildings, cafes, and spaces on main campus. There’s always a great buzz and quite often an event ongoing that you can get involved with.
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3. Grab a coffee – nip into the Westwood café for a caffeine top up and you’ll find loads of other mature students doing just the same thing who’ll be more than happy for a quick chat.

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To find out more about our Student Support Team, please visit our website. 

About the blogger

Lauren Elmore
Lauren works as a Student Engagement Coordinator at CLL. Working closely with students and academic staff, Lauren gathers feedback to enable improvements to be made to the student experience at the Centre.

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