I was fortunate to be part of the 2012 Go Higher cohort of students, where I met a number of mature students who, like me, took that difficult and daunting decision to take the first steps at studying at a higher level. This first meeting took place at 126 Mount Pleasant (see picture in blog below). During my studies on Go Higher I forged some good friendships with a number of students, of which many I am still friends with and meet on a regular basis.
One of these students was Margaret Henderson. Both Margaret and I are passionate about education and the role that mature students can play in University life. Margaret has been involved with the student council, formulating a mature student policy, and recently elected as NUS delegate. I have founded a mature student society which aims to be both a campaigning and social society. Both Margaret and I offered our candidacy in the recent Society elections and were both successful. Members elected me to the position of President and Margaret to the position of Chair.
The decision to set up a society began in February of this year, following a mature student workshop organised by the Guild Vice President, Leigh-Angel Bevan, and University of Liverpool Student Advisor, Melissa Reilly. The workshop was attended by a number of mature students (67% being from Go Higher) and the general consensus was that there needed to be more opportunities for mature students to meet and interact with each other. Many Go Higher students were, and are, in a privileged position by having friends and social connections when they move onto their undergraduate courses. However, what transpired from the workshop was that some mature students didn’t have these social connections and some felt isolated. The Mature Student’s Society was created with these people in mind but also for an opportunity for Go Higher students to continue their social interactions with the students they met when completing the Go Higher access course. We’ve even attracted Go Higher students who completed the Go Higher programme a couple of years ago.
I organised the first mature student meeting in April where as a group we agreed the aims of the Society, discussed committee positions and debated the constitution (the rules to protect members and stipulate the ‘powers’ of the committee). It was agreed the function of our society was to be two-fold: a campaigning society and a social society. The social society is as an opportunity for mature students to meet and interact in a number of ways. This can include going for meals, drinking, cinema, theatre, sports events and even studying together or attending events hosted by the Uni. However, these are just a handful of activities. The campaigning aspect of our society is to deal with issues that mature students face. Of course, when students start their undergraduate courses they have the support of their course representatives, the student union and student advisors. However, the mature student society is that extra voice for students over the age of 21.
We hope that all current and future Go Higher students, if they complete their degree at the University of Liverpool, will join the Mature Students’ Society – you will receive a warm welcome and we hope to see you soon. Our contact details are:
Facebook: Mature Students Society, University of Liverpool