Debunking the Top 10 Mature Student Myths!

Posted by Sunera on April 7, 2014

On-board to York

Leave the myths at the door. It is time to debunk the top ten mature student myths!

Myth #1. You are following my foot-steps!

No one's foot-steps pave the way for you!
No one’s foot-steps pave the way for you!

This has to be my number one pet peeve, and there is nothing that can prepare your for people’s overwhelming interest in your life once you are a full-time mature student, what you are doing at school, and where you are working. Often followed by comments such as, “So, I hear you are following in my foot-steps.” I beg to differ, but I don’t think anyone’s foot-steps pave the way for us. Many Canadian educational institutions offer similar platforms that various professionals once took advantage of.

The truth is that as a mature student, you already most likely have a strong sense of direction you want to head in. Mature students who come from the workforce certainly have an advantage. Your work experience, ability to prioritize, working in a team, budgeting, and work/life balance will help you get ahead in school.  Working full-time will help you excel in school by making most of the opportunities. No one’s foot-steps pave the way for mature students but rather their own life or work experiences.  Your passion, interests, experience, and the people at York University, combined with the support are more likely the reasons for our success, not someone else’s footsteps.

Myth #2. You are too old. Don’t you wish you could have done this sooner?

never too old for school
You are never too old for school!

You are never too old for school! And no, I definitely don’t think I should have done this any sooner. I had no idea what I wanted to study for my undergraduate degree right after high-school, and that was part of the reason I accepted my full-time job with Metro. I don’t wish my life would have worked out any other way than the way it did. I would have never made the most of time if I just went to University at the age of 18. I learned so much during my time at work, I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything in this world. I feel it is because of working full-time that I became the person that I am and was able to discover my interests. The mistakes that I learned from, work experience that I acquired, helped me determine what I love to study.

Myth #3. Your grades will suffer. 

Many mature students are worried if you are returning to education after a break that it will affect your grades. If you haven’t a written an essay in a while this can be a concern. The transition to being a full-time student from a part-time can be a little daunting but with so much support offered to students at YorkU, there is no reason to worry. TA’s and professors are there to support you during office hours, writing centre has qualified instructors working with students, Scott library has the learning commons, SPARK was launched in September. There is so much support for students and I make sure that I avail these resources to enhance my academic career.

If this isn’t called fitting in, I don’t know what is!

Myth #4. You won’t be able to adjust.

It has been said that pictures speak a thousand words, enough said 😉 My super awesome team also nominated me for a team-leader prize, as many members were co-leading with me. If this is not called adjusting I don’t know what is. I have connected with so many amazing students, for group projects, studying for exams, volunteering, and many other common interests that I will run out of space if I started typing them all out. My super awesome team of YU-Bloggers that I am currently working with, students I am learning from during my Student Ambassador experience. A big shout out to all of you amazing people!

Myth #5. There is no support for mature students.

There is plenty of support for mature student that YorkU offers. First is the Atkinson Centre for Mature and Part-Time Students. Orientations, part-time studies options, a mentor program, and may different events. There is also a Student Association for Single Parents, and a childcare centre. The platforms are there so be sure to reach out for the support!

Myth #6. No one will hire you because you are old/over qualified. 

My experience has been appreciated, but it has never been a factor for discrimination nor has my age . I have learned so much by working on campus and volunteering, and these are things that I can apply to my future career such as, public speaking skills, WordPress, education system jobs, improved writing skills, presentation skills, and so much more. The jobs on campus offer so much more than just wages, while strengthening many qualities of an individual. A lot of these jobs offer skills that can enhance your resume.

Myth #7. You won’t be able to handle it financially.

Think finance, think on-campus employment!

There is no denying, that your lifestyle will be different than it was prior to commencing full-time studies. It is a short-term adjustment for a long time gain. It is definitely achievable. I have been working on campus which has been sufficient enough for me. You can choose to live with live with room-mates and split the rent, stay with your family or in the mature student apartments if you like your privacy. Plus, the valuable work experience on-campus for me is worth a lot more than the wages. Another perk of being a mature student and having been in the workforce is that many students go back to their companies to advance their careers. Many are able to start their careers in different companies having their work experience backed up by degrees.

Myth #8. No school is ever good enough!

No matter which school I went to people can’t help but compare schools. Whether I was in college, U of T or at YorkU, no school is ever good enough. No one should be aloof to the fact that it is not the school but your attitude that determines how you make use of your degree. Canadian reputable schools have been rated amongst the top learning institutions in the world and I think there is a reason for that. Our education system is recognized world-wide. Each school has specialities, things they are known for and all have their own strengths. It is very important in knowing which school is right for you by visiting the school and determining if your programs are being offered there. Choosing the right school is a very subjective matter, and once again I couldn’t be happier at York U and couldn’t have chosen a better school. Go York Go!

debunked another myth!
Just debunked another myth! And, it feels good 😉

Myth #9. You guys will never make it. 

Also, a very personal matter but as an engaged individual I hear this comment a lot. Education is very important to me, has been, and always will be. My fiancé was the first person I consulted, when I took this initiative of being a full-time student. We worked out the logistics and he was very supportive of the idea. Time is flying, and next year I’m actually done school. (Bitter, sweet feeling!) My fiancé  has also written several examinations for his professional designation during this time. I plan to pursue graduate studies after marriage, while working full-time. My fiancé will keep working towards his designation as a working professional too. Being supportive of each other is super important!

Myth #10. You will gain weight.

stay fit
There are many ways to stay fit at YorkU.

“University makes it easier for individuals to pack on weight, especially–the older you get, the easier it is to gain weight.” Inevitably, I am targeted with this line often enough. Even if I gained weight, I think education is a fair trade for a bit of weight gain. Weight is a very personal thing. While, I don’t think anyone should ever be commenting on someone’s weight, nonetheless periodically this myth does come up. You can still practice healthy eating habits while in school. I have not gained any weight since being a full-time student. I will also be signing up for the a gym membership in with the Tait  McKenzie Centre for just fifteen dollars annually. Walking from classes, working, volunteering and all the involvement will keep you pretty active to get those calories burning fast. I enjoy swimming in the Tait McKenzie pool, and other activities at the Tait McKenzie Centre. There are tons of ways to keep active! 

Have you ever been subjected to mature students myths? How did you debunk those myths? Share your stories below!



Sunera graduated from York University in May, 2016 with an Honours BA in Work and Labour Studies.

See other posts by Sunera