I was in my late 30s when I decided it was time to assess my life. I had reached my goals up to this point. Some might even think I had accomplished all that I should, but I wasn’t ready to stop there. It was time to set new goals for the future. I was ready to take on a second Master’s Degree program, as a mature student. And it was time to mark what may be the most challenging goal of all: to attend Oxford University.
As I sat scanning through my email, my eyes landed on one from the Oxford admissions department. After taking a moment to prepare, I clicked the email open and shouted for joy when I read that I would be attending Said Business School. My nine-year-old son stared at me, my happiness of returning to school unfathomable to his young mind. Confused, he asked, “Daddy, did you not go to school as a child?”
For over 15 minutes, I explained to him the importance of continued education. I confirmed that I had attended school, college, and university, and completed them all well. However, the world is constantly changing, and success depends on your willingness and ability to stay relevant. In longed to refresh and expand my skills, knowledge, and perspective. I wanted to grow my network. And I wanted to learn from the very best- Oxford University.
Having an enhanced clarity of my future life, conscious of my superpower of being a quick learner, at the late 30s, I chose to get back to college as a Mature Student, to do my second master’s degree, from the Lady Margaret Hall of The Oxford University.
The Harry Potter Momment
I was assigned to the Lady Margaret College
Day 1: I parked outside of the iron gate of my college. I could see the construction workers putting their finishing touches on the newly constructed portico and MCR building. I took a moment to appreciate the beauty of the neoclassical buildings and the asymmetrical central lawn.
I saw from afar that Professor Alan was walking the house dog in the beautifully appointed lawn. I had been told that some of the walkways were reserved for fellows though I had yet to discover which ones. I wanted to respect them, so I avoided any walkway I was unsure of as well as the lawn.
Unwinding at MCR
My weekly lectures at Said Business School were always followed with a visit to MCR. I would enjoy conversations with resident students over a coffee or wine. These conversations went beyond the normal topics of corporate life or discussing daily life with your family. They included talks about LGBT rights, Brexit, vanishing content about the Arab Spring. These discussions helped me to unwind.
As a Mature Student
While most mature adults avoid continuing school later in life, I welcomed the challenge. I was aware that there would be difficulties balancing a family, career, relationships, and my studies. I found over time though that there were also advantages:
Some odd Advantages
- I had a career path to follow when I graduated
- The freedom of making this decision for myself
- Experiences in personal and business life allowed for greater understanding and reflection than was possible as a younger student
- It was a great opportunity to network with adults
- A very exciting Unidays discount for the MacBook Pro
Don’t let challenges stop you,
If your dream is to continue your education, don’t let challenges stop you, especially age. Any challenge can be overcome and used as an advantage.