If you are passionate and considering studying for a degree, don’t doubt being a mature student at University

Orthoptics equipment
Mature Student
BMedSci Orthoptics with Foundation Year
Alisha returned to education to study BMedSci Orthoptics with Foundation Year with the Department for Lifelong Learning after taking part in our DLL Discover Course. The foundation year course allowed Alisha to access the course that had interested her without the standard and course-specific entry qualifications.
Students testing eye sight of other students

What had you been doing prior to coming to University, since you left your earlier education?

Since leaving further education, I have been working within the NHS. I wanted to work, explore my options and take time out of education before deciding whether to pursue  higher education.

Why did you decide to return to education as a mature student?

After further education, I was unsure what area of healthcare I wanted to pursue. I wanted to find out more before going on to higher education and save some money before starting University. I decided to hold off pursuing higher education for a couple of years until I was sure what course would suit me. I came across the DLL Discover Course on the University of Sheffield website and it was a good opportunity to see if applying to University was right for me. The taster sessions and the advice and guidance on how to apply to a course was helpful and I liked the informal and easy going sessions.

Why did you choose to study at DLL? 

DLL and the foundation year allowed me to access a route to the course that had interested me without the standard and course-specific entry qualifications. I liked that DLL welcomed me back into education after a couple of years out and that the foundation year was centred around studying at University and introducing me to further education by introducing academic skills such as research, essay writing and critical thinking.

What do you like most about Sheffield as a city?

To myself and many students, Sheffield is known to be a safe and friendly city to live  and study in. Sheffield has many green spaces, and you have easy access to the Peak District, which is excellent for hiking, cycling and many outdoor activities. There is a great student atmosphere within Sheffield, and I like the sense of community within Sheffield. You get to explore and get to know the city well as a student.

How did the foundation year benefit and prepare you for your degree study?

The foundation year centred around studying at degree level and was adapted for each student and the degree they progress onto. The introduction to academic skills such as researching and referencing was helpful when I progressed on to my degree, and I have been able to use these essential academic skills within my course.

What did you enjoy most about the foundation year?

I enjoyed being in an academic environment again, meeting new people and learning something new. 

What have you enjoyed most about your degree course?

I have enjoyed going on placement to different hospital departments across the UK. This has allowed me to develop my clinical experience and put what we study into practice with real-life cases. It has been interesting seeing a wide range of patients, such as children, adults, the elderly and those with disabilities. You also get to explore a city you may not have been to before, such as when I went on placement to Swansea, which is on the coast of Wales.

What are the biggest challenges you've faced, and how have you overcome these?

Whilst studying, I have also worked part-time, and when I struggled to balance working and studying I  spoke to my manager and my academic tutor to help resolve this. I decided to adapt my working days and hours to fit around my studies and go over topics I found difficult with my academic tutor. Now I feel I have a good balance between both work and study..

What advice would you give to other mature students considering a return to education?

My advice would be to do your research and plan what you would like to study and why. It can be intimidating to return to education, but a plan can help you visualise and work towards a goal.

What do you plan to do after your degree?

I want to work within my area of study within the NHS and progress within my role. My degree is recognised internationally, and I am also looking into working abroad.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us about your experience of being a mature student at the University of Sheffield?

Returning to education and making the decision to return can be intimidating. If you are passionate and considering studying for a degree, don’t doubt being a mature student at University. You will meet others  in the same position and be supported with your decision to study for a degree. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions and make the most of the wide range of support and contacts available to you.