======= Date Modified 22 Apr 2011 12:22:23 =======
Are there any other older students out there. I've just given up full time work after 30 years! I've started a PhD this month, self funding, but hoping to work out how to apply for funding, and still doing a bit of work to pay the fees. Love my student card and the discounts I can now get, just wish this applied to travel too as I neither qualify for a bus pass or a young persons railcard. I ride a bike to Uni each day to save money on car parks, and sit at a Faculty desk to save money on electric and gas bills phone and printing too. The lack of a salary each month is a shock, but frugality is a good discipline to acquire. Any advice? Any thoughts for older students.
Why am I doing this now? Certainly not to improve job prospects! It's purely for the joy of studying, it's for me.
======= Date Modified 22 Apr 2011 13:01:06 =======
Full time students of any age can have a Young Person's railcard (I assume you are full-time since you say you cycle in every day). If so you can get the application form stamped by your department office to confirm that your are a student. Its also worth looking into local student/young person travel discounts which, round me give even better discounts than the national railcard.
I am no longer a chronologically young person but can brandish the card which says otherwise :p
That is really helpful, you've just made my day! Jumping on my bike to pedal to the railway station now to get that form. I have to use the train to work in London two days per month to earn dosh for my full time student fees etc. So a railcard would be brill.
You're certainly not alone as an older student. I'm working full time, finishing a part-time MSc and starting a part-time PhD in September.
I voted 'other' on your poll as you should decide what you want to wear when cycling, and you may want to wear different things......
Happy to compare notes offline.
There are plenty of older students out there. My former OU tutor did his PhD in his 60s, and was still tutoring us all in his 80s.
Many don't give up work though. Many study part-time, alongside full-time (or nearly full-time) jobs. I was an older PhD student the second time around, ok much younger than you, but still much older than the norm. I was a part-time student, managing on just a handful of hours a week by the end (no more than 5 a week by the end, in 1 hour chunks spread throughout the week). But I got through.
Good luck! 8-)
In my experience, older students enjoy the PhD process more than the whipper snappers as they typically have less pressure and, dare i say it, more balanced expectations.
It also helps that you seem quite insane. Let me clarify this personal affront ;-)
I read your comments, all very sensible and then your poll question made me laugh out loud so thanks for that! How did you get from one to the other?! Quite a leap and shows just the sort of lateral thinking and nuttiness that will mean I suspect you will enjoy every minute of your PhD.
You wear what you like dear and i wish you all the very best.
Chuff (middle aged woman)
Well done for studying at an older age! I personally think that older and self-funded students are at a slight advantage by having experienced life and thus are often very committed to their studies. You have obviously taken on-board the reduction in salary and that is a big thing when you have earned monies for some 30 years. I found having shopped in boutiques and buying what I fancied without worrying, to shopping in cheaper shops (and perhaps going without) a huge change. I would say there are younger students who could learn a few money saving tips from you! But as with all things this is a phase in your life of frugal living that will no doubt be followed by a more affluent time (or at least that is what I am working on lol).
As for your attire while cycling to uni (very commendable) I would go for 'other'. I think you have earnt the right to wear exactly what you wish to, so if hotpants is your choice for this lovely weather, go for it!!
I am in my fifties as well, and am investigating how to go about getting a PhD. For me, it's not to improve employment prospects, that's a bit unlikely now. It's rather for my own personal sense of achievement and satisfaction.
I will be self funding whenever I start, so serious frugality is essential from now on.
I think we 'more experienced' students could possibly be more relaxed than younger ones. We have only ourselves to please now!
As for what to wear when you are out and about - you wear what you like girl - but don't forget the safety helmet!
======= Date Modified 22 Apr 2011 17:12:48 =======
You have about ten years on me :$ but I have done it all as a mature (degree, masters and now PhD) and yep, we 'matures' have life experience to work off so go for it.
As for cycling gear, with 16 years in the airline industry behind me (and the grooming checks that went with the job - I'm not joking!) I don't think lycra is a good look on anyone, leaves very little to the imagination ;-)
I'm 47 and will start my doctorate later this year-early next. I will do this part-time as I do not want to give up my full time job, have a mortgage and need to put together some dollars for later in life and so I can do a bit of travelling and home renovation now. Sounds pretty exciting (and yuppyish) but I can assure you up until the last year or so, I have gone through huge financial struggles to get where I am now and to bring up my children-and all of those lovely things will be done at a very modest level (much more so than most of my colleagues).
So you go for it! (up) I thought about the full time thing but probably wouldn't be able to survive on the scholarship with present commitments. However, Ive been inspired previously by women who have done this-gone full time-been older when they started and finished-and have met with much success...one of these women-who now would be at retirement age is doing a second Phd to essential write a history and get some funding for it.
As for cycling- whatever you like-all of the keen cyclists in my area wear those full on cycling suits that are like a second skin and cost the earth, no one seems to care what they look like -well actually they do- it seems to be a status thing to wear them and to be part of the cycling club. But wear what you feel comfortable in. I run in tshirts and lycra exercise pants-simply because most of those short baggy running shorts are far too breezy-it is only exercise and it is only a body finally when you come down to it-we all have one. However, I don't wear those things at other times...cheers and have lots of fun....
I'm 14 years older than you, and was 11 years older when I started. I have little good to say about the process. I found academia to be light years behind my own real life experience as a self-employed writer/researcher/broadcaster. However, I needed to satisfy my passion, and that bit worked although no one at my university, sadly, shared that passion or knew anything about it. I was a one woman band - so no change there. I was alone as all the other full-time PhD students were 'international'.
I feel that my own experience as a squarish peg in an octahedral prismic hole was pretty unusually bad, so don't want to bias you.
Go for it! At your age I was accepted on to a PhD in another discipline, and may have been less 'difficult' (knowing?) then, and would have been working in a department in which everyone knew something about my subject and could have been supportive, intellectually and socially. That would have eased it all.
Think carefully. You'll have to deal with unjustified arrogance so learn button your lip. Wear lycra. Get a rail pass. Make Poundland your shop of choice. Learn to love chicken wings, discarded veg, and mince. One is always nearer by not keeping still (Thom Gunn).
Hey, Snowdropbooks: give 'em something to talk about and wear a dirndle skirt: Vivienne Weswood would and she's older than you and a fashion legend! At least the gossip gerenated would deflect any other potential unpleasantness...
I would advise any self-funded student to take thiings very carefully at first and sniff out the supervisor and department. If there are big problems you could still transfer without too much trouble up until the end of the first year - this is a great advantage of being self-funded. I did this and my new supervisor and department are just brilliant - aside from a crew of bitchy boys who are also doing PhDs - I would love to see their faces as a mature woman rides past, skirt flying in the air.
Don't ever wear lycra outside of a swim suit or mixed with other less visually demanding fabrics - ie wool or jeans cotton etc. IMO you will be asking for trouble by marking yourself out as a person with no taste or regard for the aesthetic sensibilities of others.
I am mature: 42, but I left my alternative career so long ago this just feels like my life. And, yes, pound shops are my friends - I wish I could go on more luxurious holidays and always go for dinner when invited, even to explensive restaurants, but my research and the lecturing I do are worth it - I wouldn't swap the priviledege of following my passion for tonnes of cash. But then I have no responsibilities, ie, children or mortgage.
Also, about the rail card - I have one of these and it is an absolute life saver as I travel such a lot for my lecturing work; however, beware ticket inspectors - if you forget it or lose it they are less likely to believe you are genuine if you are older than the usual student. I have had a couple of unpleasant experiences due to this, so always remember to take it with you. Plus, I found out during a phone call to Transpennine Express recently that inspectors will ask customers with missing railcards questions as 'proof' that they are genuine. These are: 'what colour is the card?' (correct answer: orange) and 'when did you buy it?' apparently, how confident you are in your response will determine whether or not they let you off - or march you offthe train and fine you loads of money.
I'm just reading the other replies here as regards the clothing issue. I'm gathering you've added the option in your poll as you're used to wearing a skirt in your job in the real world. Fair enough.
Can I suggest you wear whatever is better for cycling in and changing into a skirt when you get into Uni (stick skirt and matching shoes in backpack that you'll inevitably carry your notes and other materials in)?
Also, the world is a lot more casual these days so don't worry about wearing trousers and there's plenty older women wear jeans these days too!!! You're a student again, so no one gives a monkeys.
I'm wrong side of 40 and as a man still comfortably get away with T-shirt and jeans outside the normal working environment (at a point in life as little as ten years ago I'd expect not to be doing so).
Ian (aliais Beefy)
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