Coming to UCA as a mature student

Studying as a mature student may seem like a daunting leap. Blogger and student, Sarah Glover, shares her experience and how it surprised her.

21 Jan 2019

If someone had told my 15-year-old self that one day I’d be doing a creative arts degree, I probably would have laughed. As would have my art teacher. By this point in my mandatory education, I’d dropped art as a subject and been through the requisite careers guidance workshop that determined I was destined for a life in the sciences — ha! — despite the fact that literature and music were considerably more enjoyable for me (I did take literature, so all was not lost).

The prospects of a future in the creative industries were not really sold in those days. Accessible internet, social media, modern marketing and advertising, animation, instant photography… technology as a whole was still a foetal shadow, and no one could have predicted how these things would affect the creative industries, now the fastest growing sector in the UK economy.



One of my biggest fears in returning to education was my age, and it was two-fold: would I be isolated and alone as a mature student, unable to connect with younger peers? And would my age, in their eyes, make me obsolete?

Thankfully, both my fears were wholly unfounded. Although it may not be singular to creative universities, the surge in recent times of individuals wanting more than just a treadmill-career means that both higher and further education courses are attracting higher numbers of mature students. I was not alone!

And to my delight, all the students on the course get along like a house on fire, from the teens to those in their 60s and everything in between — we communicate, we deliberate, discuss, encourage, inspire, collaborate and, when the day is done, dissect it all over a pint in the pub.



Another joy of discovering life at UCA has been the sense of community. It feels much more like an exciting place of work, surrounded by a supportive team, than it does an educational institution. You are part of something bigger than just your own work, and the whole faculty play a huge part of that — not sat on untouchable and unrelatable pedestals, they are part of your daily life, guiding, suggesting, cajoling when needed, and encouraging you to find places you’ve never been before. You can allow yourself to go on a voyage of discovery.


From day one, I’ve felt my decision to return to education has been one of the best choices I’ve ever made. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t harder days, days of self-doubt and confusion, days of discovering things about yourself that aren’t always easy, but I feel like a wealthier person — certainly not in riches or material possessions (yes, degrees are expensive things!), but the journey, the interaction, the skills, the philosophising… in essence, the return on my financial investment, is priceless.


— Sarah Glover

Sarah is studying GCJM at Farnham — to find out more about our craft courses visit our website.