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Life as a mature student

Life as a mature student29-year-old Charlie returned to university to do a PGCE in maths after he was made redundant from his job as a financial adviser.

Here he talks about the highs and lows of being a mature student in Leeds.

What is the best bit of your course?

I think the teaching practice was probably the best bit for me. The teachers I met in my placement schools were really inspiring. I struggled to teach to begin with but once I’d learned how to control the class, I loved it.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?

Adjusting to being a student again has been really tough. I’ve been in full-time work for the last eight years and it’s so different listening to a lecturer and writing essays. There’s also the issue of having less disposable income. It’s been tough but I’ve adapted.

How do you cope with money?

Before I was made redundant I had an expensive lifestyle. Since becoming a student again, I’ve moved into shared accommodation, which is much cheaper. I also rarely eat out now and have cut down the number of takeaways I have to one per week. That’s saved me a lot of money!

Where do you live?

I live in a shared house with four other students. The rent is pretty cheap compared to where I used to live and as a student I don’t have to pay council tax, which is a bonus.

Where will you be in ten years?

I am quite keen to move up the career ladder. I know it’s a bit ambitious to assume I’d be a head teacher in ten years but I like to think I’d be well on my way. Perhaps a department head at least.

What do you wish you had known when you started

I wish someone had explained to me the process of applying for loans and grants. It’s changed so much since I did my first degree. I made so many phone calls and felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. I finally spoke to an adviser at the university who explained what I needed to do.

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