The Struggles as a Mature-Aged Student Are Raw and Real

It’s the first day of a new semester at Bond University, and I’m excited!

I love how our beautiful sandstone campus exudes a positive vibe in the air and a feel of freshness wherever you go during the first week back at uni. Fresh start, new hopes and fellow current students with sun-kissed faces after a 3-week uni break.

Bond University

Bond University

The joy of being back to my books only adds to the happiness of catching up with uni friends over coffee and bumping into favourite professors as they prepare for lectures and tutorials. 

For stationery lovers like myself, there’s absolute bliss in stocking up on new pens, highlighters and paperclips. (Yes, I am a stationery freak!).

The scent of new textbooks change my mood to a conqueror, as I envision myself devouring all set readings for the semester with my new-found enthusiasm.

Law Faculty

Law Faculty

Realistically for me though, these feelings of anticipation and excitement don’t last long; as I find myself weighed down by adding onto my busy life the ambition of achieving the holy grail of academia.

Deep in the recesses of my mind, I can’t help but feel both overwhelmed and burdened with what is surely to come. And it annoyes me feeling this way as it taints the wonderful opportunity of a brand new semester. However, I have been persevering with my studies for the past 5 years and know all the struggles of being an older student.

  • I know the demands on my time to study will compete with various responsibilities I have of being a businesswoman and humanitarian.
  • I know that I can’t possibly get through the mountain of law cases to read due to my limited time.
  • I know that life will try to set me back by throwing a spanner in the works, such as a family situation or a financial demand elsewhere.
  • I know my heart will hurt when I have to constantly spend time away from my husband and family to meet the never-ending pressures of assignments and exams. 

Over the past 5 years, I’ve had to balance university studies with managing the operations of a growing business, keeping up with humanitarian work against domestice violence and catering to my hospitalised husband for over 8 months.

I’ve had to find a way to accommodate family members moving into our home both temporarily and permanently, entertain countless visitors from interstate and overseas, travel domestically and internationally to attend numerous birthdays, 3 weddings and a funeral.

Taking Mum for a Campus Tour

Taking mum on a campus tour

The reality is that returning to study as a mature-aged student is darn hard! There are lots of  challenges in balancing a mature-aged life and pursuing higher education.


… even though I’m fully aware of these struggles, I look forward to a fresh new semester and implementing strategies I’ve learned along the way to fulfil all my obligations.

Why you ask? For the sheer joy of learning, whilst embracing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pursue my dream path.

When I find myself overwhelmed at every start of the term, I remind myself of what I’ve achieved since I started uni to keep me motivated.

Over the past 5 years, I:

  • Was admitted to study at a prestigious university like Bond.
  • Achieved numerous high marks throughout my business degree.
  • Completed a business degree with only law to go.
  • Enjoyed the opportunity to travel to China as part of my business degree.
  • Relished being an intern in South Africa for my halfway-through law degree.
  • Was honoured to be President of our Pacific Islanders’ Student Association, leading our club to be nominated as one of the ‘Best Cultural Clubs’ at Bond.
  • Had the pleasure of meeting amazing life-long friends and colleagues along the way.
  • Found the strategies, strength and determination to balance it all well successfully.
President of Bond University Pacific Islanders' Student Association

President of Bond University Pacific Islanders’ Student Association

The many struggles of being a mature-aged student become worthwhile when I step back and look at all I’ve accomplished so far. Even though I’ve sometimes buckled under the pressure of it all, my mental strength has kept me going and growing.

I’ve discovered that persevering with studies as an older student is refining me in a way; to someone who is more resilient with a new way of thinking like a lawyer.

Becoming more disciplined and purposeful about how I invest my time have also been the benefits of juggling all my responsibilities. 

It has been tough, but here I am – ready to graduate on 16 June 2018 with my Bachelor of Business degree; the first one in my family to be a university graduand. Now, that is an exciting accomplishment for someone like me.

Uni Friends and Colleagues

Bond University friends and colleagues

If you are a current mature-aged student, I wish you all the best in your endeavours and may you overcome all the ups and downs of life in order to achieve your goals. The road is challenging but the rewards are certainly worth it.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race,” Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of USA (1872 – 1933).

I’m always on the lookout for effective ways to do life and uni more efficiently, so if you’ve been in my current position and have any tips for me, let me know below or on either our Instagram or Facebook page.

Beyond the Pacific

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  1. David

    May 31, 2018

    Hello, I enjoy reading all of your article posts. I wanted to write a little comment to support you in your studies and to keep persevering with law. You may not have another opportunity to study at Bond University like you have now. All the best and nice blog.

    • Beyond the Pacific

      June 1, 2018

      Hello David, many thanks for your feedback and encouraging comment. I appreciate that! Yes, I tend to agree with you as I’m near the halfway mark through my law degree. I’m passionate about studying and learning, it’s the curly ones that life throws at all of us every now and then that rocks the boat at times. Anyhow, thank you again for your feedback. Cheers, Miriam 🙂

  2. Alisha

    April 23, 2019

    Thanks for sharing your experiences as a mature-aged student. I bet it wasn’t easy but you pushed through and now have a degree under your belt. You’re truly inspiring! Well done and congrats 🙂 xx.

    • Beyond the Pacific

      April 23, 2019

      Hi Alisha, it wasn’t easy when life throws curly ones at times (loved ones get sick, pass away, etc…) and we just have to manage it all with a good attitude and preparation. I’m missing studies though so I look forward to one day being back in the books, especially to finish my law degree. Cheers!

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