New Year, New You? Best-laid plans

Traditionally, January is a time for making resolutions and setting ourselves new challenges, whether they involve hunting for a new job, building relationships, improving health and fitness, finding new hobbies and interests, or returning to education.

This year, we are doing all of the above while entering the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic. These are difficult times for many, and give us all pause for thought about what is important to us.

If education is important to you, you’re in the right place. The benefits of returning to study are countless. Among other things, studying helps you to broaden your mind, develop confidence in your abilities, pursue your interests, expand your knowledge and make new friends.

Maybe this year it’s time to stop delaying a new start and consider a return to education?

Studying as a mature student has lifelong benefits and can bring about lots of rewards; it might even lead to new career opportunities.

The thought of returning to study may feel difficult during these challenging times, and the barriers may feel many and hard to overcome. With a little research, however, you may find these barriers are easier to overcome than they seem.

For instance, if you’re concerned about the cost of studying, do you know all the facts about fee loans, maintenance loans and even bursaries? If you need support with childcare costs, you may be able to access that.  There are even free courses, such as the Warwick Gateway to HE. This course is similar to an access programme, and is offered over 19 weeks, with both daytime and evening options. 

It’s also important for returners to study to consider the longer-term rewards that further study can reap. These can include confidence, knowledge, friendships and increased earning potential as a result of promotion – or the opportunity to change career completely.

Lack of confidence or ‘imposter syndrome’ is often quoted by our learners as a reason not to study. They aren’t keen at the thought of sitting among 18-year-old students or feeling that they themselves don’t deserve to be there. And then there’s the fear of writing essays and sitting exams. 

At the Centre for Lifelong Learning, many of our courses aren’t assessed by exams. And we offer lots of support; for instance, we have a student support team, and current students act as digital mentors for us. 

At our centre, the average age of students is 36 and the eldest student is 74. It’s never too late to try. Often, our students find they have more confidence to speak up in a seminar as they have knowledge that can only come from life experience. Plus they learn a lot from their younger peers.

Our 2+2 degree is full-time and focuses on building confidence. Students spend the first two years of this degree studying at a local college. This enables them to gain the skills to prepare them for the final two years, which are based at the university.

Often, the hardest barriers to overcome involve commitments. Adult life often comes with many of those, involving children, parents, work and/or relationships. The pandemic has only increased them, with potential isolations and home-schooling never feeling too far away. Finding a flexible programme that can fit around your life may seem impossible, but there are options at local colleges and universities.

At the centre, our Early Childhood Foundation Degree has been designed to suit those who work full-time, with lectures taking place in the evening and on Saturdays. There’s also a part-time degree programme with a range of day-time modules, and with the option of some limited evening study.

If you’re ready to find out more about how you can overcome any (and all!) of these barriers, and you think this could be your year to prove you can do it, then why not arrange to speak with one of our recruitment team?

They’ll be happy to help guide you in the right direction.

View all courses and read about the financial and student support available on the Centre for Lifelong Learning website.

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