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Mature Aged Students – Old enough to know … not enough yet! 

Mature Aged Students – Old enough to know … not enough yet! 


Being over 21 and considered a mature aged student stings a little. But if a 93-year-old can do it, so can you!! Hannah shares why she went back to uni and how she manages to study while being a mother.

Written by Hannah Porter

It hasn’t quite been long enough since I completed my undergrad to have forgotten what we thought of mature age students.

So to fit into that category now stings a bit. 

How I feel writing this.

Millennials have been labeled the “job hopping generation”, with a recent study giving us an average 2.75yrs in each job before we move on to the next opportunity.

I think there are a lot of factors at play for us; we’re more connected than our predecessors, more mobile and more flexible.

Moreover though, I believe there has been a shift away from prioritising work towards prioritising self and with that comes reflection and reevaluation. 

Personally, I remember making a pact with myself when I finished uni that I would utilise my teaching degree for twice the amount of time it took me to earn it (four year double degree) to make it worth it.

I taught for nine years, over two schools, so I had no misgivings when the time came to hand in my resignation.

In that time I developed organisational, interpersonal and time/HR management skills, essentially transforming who I was as an employee and a person.

I have also recognised many times over in my current degree there is no way school-leaver Hannah could have done it – I didn’t work overly hard, and I played a little too hard, giving me wonderful friendships and memories I wouldn’t change for the world. 

Undergrad uni memories.

A quick google search will tell you Australia’s oldest enrolled university student is Val Fell, a 93yo powerhouse studying a Bachelor of Dementia Care at the University of Tasmania.

Val cared for her husband who suffered from dementia in the years preceding his death and I believe therein lies a massive motivator for return to study; life experience.

I had always had an interest in anatomy and health but it wasn’t until the collision of a personal change, extreme lack of physicians in my area and the opportunity of completing the course close to home that I decided I would actually apply to retrain as a Doctor. 

I also credit parenthood.

Since becoming a mother I realised how much I could fit into a day, how little sleep I needed to function, what I could get done with a baby in one arm and the vast number of things I can pick up with my feet.

I’m more organised, I am more disciplined and I’m more driven because my success isn’t just mine anymore, it’s ours. 

Being a mature aged student is actually wonderful. I have a love for learning I don’t think I appreciated when I was younger.

I know how lucky I am to have the opportunities that I have and I grab them enthusiastically. I also couldn’t care less what the school leavers think of me…. 

Big love to my fellow mature agers!

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