Joining Anglia Ruskin as a mature student or with a family? Don't worry! There's nothing to stop you getting as involved as any other student. Dean Bowyer, current student and winner of Course Representative of the year at the 2013 Made a Difference Awards, talks about his university experience as a mature student with a family...
"After many years of going to work in boring dead end jobs I made the life changing decision to go to University, I knew this would be a long hard journey but I was determined to make a better life for me, my wife and three children. I wanted to set a good example for them. It was going to be a major challenge with many ups and downs on the way, as I hated school with a passion and never believed in education back in my distant youth. I was concerned I would feel like an old guy in a young person’s world, whilst completing my access to higher education course at college an open day was arranged for us to attend at Anglia Ruskin University.
On the day of the open day I was excited, nervous and intrigued to see what it was like at University. To my surprise I realised it was not me that would be standing out, it would be the eighteen year old person coming straight from doing their A-Levels because there was and still is more mature people at University than younger people. I immediately felt at home whilst walking through the bright and modern corridors of Anglia Ruskin University. Before University had started I had identified an area of weakness that I had which I knew would need to be worked on whilst at University and that was my public speaking and meeting new people.
During fresher’s week we had a presentation by the student Union and a wonderful lady had us drawing pigs, apparently depending on where your pig was positioned on the paper dictated what kind of person you are. This wonderful lady planted a seed that day with her fantastic presentation on becoming a student representative. I realised this was an opportunity for me to confront my fears and improve on my identified weakness. I had already decided I wanted to experience as many different things at University ensuring I got the best experience ever; I took the plunge and stood in the election to be my course’s student representative, I also decided to join as many clubs and societies as possible realising how hard it would be with the commute and balancing home life.
I joined the student rep society as I thought it would be a good way of meeting new like minded people, I spoke briefly in email with the president and she encouraged me to come along to the first social meeting which I did nervously but I found it really inspiring I got involved and found walking round University was great people from all kind of course’s recognised me from the meetings, we helped with the Do You Know Your Rep? campaign, and I attended some meetings in my role as course student representative. When it came around for the elections during my second year I jumped at the chance to represent my course group again, and to my surprise I finished the year living one of my life times dreams sat in the cockpit of Concorde having just won an award for Student Representative of the Year for Cambridge campus.
During my two years at University I have joined the American Football team playing in several games, I have been skiing with the Skiing club, I have campaigned on various important issues with the student rep society, I have set up a cycling club and taken them cycling at an Olympic velodrome, I have also attended various talks with the Forensic science society as well as having the chance to attended riot training with the police. It is hard to juggle my home life and University life, I spend an awful lot of hours sat on a train between Cambridge and Bishops Stortford but I am having the time of my life, this really has been a life changing experience for me."
Find out more about being a Rep HERE
Find out more about societies, including how to start your own like Dean did HERE