Hey everyone, I am Jon and I’m new to lifeatuoft. I am really excited to be posting on this blog. To start, I thought I would give you a bit of a story about how I got to where I am today, which is mostly through getting active in student life.
Coming to university is an exciting and scary time, no matter what age you decide to enrol. Your entire way of life is uprooted and you have to adjust to things like sleepless nights of studying and trying to survive on less-than-normal amounts of money.
For me, coming to university was a life-long dream, which got side-railed after I left high school. I was too eager to get out in the world making money and not having to worry about getting papers in on time or worrying about the quadratic formula. I worked full-time for near ten years, but always had this dream in the back of my head about higher education.
Finally, when I was 28, I decided to take that first unsure step, quit my job, and enrolled as a full-time student at the University of Toronto. Since then, I have not looked back.
I was seeking change in my life, not only educational, but social change and a change in the way I thought about life. I wanted new experiences, new challenges, and new opportunities.
After completing my first year, I realized that I got the new challenges I sought, but there was something missing, something that was not giving me the full university experience and new opportunities. That is when I decided to get involved on campus.
Beginning my second year, I started as a volunteer with the Sexual Education and Peer Counselling Centre, which consisted of a three-hour shift each week giving advice on the phone and handing out condoms. This was great! I was meeting new people, learning new things, and felt I was actually making a difference in someone’s life by sharing my worldly experiences.
My next step to getting involved was a means of sharing my opinion. I began writing comment articles with The Varsity. While I wasn’t actually meeting people, this provided a very unique outlet to share my thoughts with a larger audience. I was so proud when my first article was published. I went out and got a copy of the issue, and framed the page my article was in. “Police Brutality at UWO” is now displayed with pride on my bedroom wall.
Things were going great for quite a while, and my mind was being stimulated both in and out of the classroom. There was still something missing though: I hardly knew anyone my own age! That is when I discovered the Mature Students’ Association. I had never heard of this group before, but from what I could find out, it was exactly what I was looking for. I had the option to simply attend the events, but I wanted to help out to get more of out of the experience. Executive meetings were held in March, and I ran for secretary and webmaster, and got both positions!
Basically what I’m saying is that classes can spark your imagination and challenge you to new heights; but it is the extra-curricular activities that are making my university experience. I am so glad I stepped out of my bubble, met new people, and discovered new things that interest me.
That is all for now. I hope I have some cool things to share with you every week! In the meantime, post a comment and let me know your story of how you got involved, or maybe even why you haven’t.
2 comments on “More than just the books”
So great to hear a mature student’s experiences! It’s a voice seldom heard by us not in that group. And very true words too. Looking forward to reading your posts this year.
Thanks for your comment. I agree that traditional students hear very little from mature students. This is probably related to the fact that a lot of mature students do not get involved in activites outside of the classroom. I am trying to make this different by hosting several events throughout the year specifically for mature students, and am working hard to get them involved.
Just as a side not, my co-blogger Lori is also a mature student!