Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

'Do other mature students feel this lonely?'


Can you advise this student nurse?

”Just over a year ago I plucked up the courage to embark on a career change into nursing. I was reassured this was a great move by friends and family, but on my first day at uni, I was mortified to see a lecture theatre almost full of sixth form leavers, with an extremely small number of mature students.

”When I realised that most of the mature students are a fair bit older than me and had children, I suddenly felt I had made a mistake.

“A year on, there are only two more years to go and I do enjoy it, but I am missing that element I was looking forward to while studying – of making a few friends from all walks of life and socialising with them.

“The students are lovely but the age gap is very noticeable – the friendships only go so far. It sounds like such a small issue, but it has affected my confidence in a big way and I am now insecure about my age.

“Are there any other mature students in this situation? If so, how do I get through the next two years?”

Please use the comments section below to share your advice



Readers' comments (5)

  • Christopher Steele

    Dear Writer,

    As a mature student nurse I was in a very similar situation to yourself during first year (I'm entering final year this September) having children also made me feel even more isolated. However, I formed good relationships with the other mature students, whether or not they had children, and this really helped.

    In our University, myself and a group of peers set up a Nursing Society so we can organise social events for nursing students - so we had more opportunity to get to know each other and socialise away from the lecture theatre/classroom. Maybe if your uni has one, join it. If it doesn't think about setting on up - not only will it help socially, but the work involved will look very positive in your portfolio.

    Remember you're not alone feeling like this - Good luck, I hope you start to feel a little more hopeful soon. Take care.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • My heart goes out to you. I'm nearly finished now … just my dissertation is outstanding. I'm older with kids so couldn't be involved outside of uni. Keep pressing ahead. Placements are variable and sometimes you find someone to connect with and other times not. I've found that the support I had from church friends, a few closer uni friends, some of the lecturers and my faith got me through. I don't know where you are on the spiritual/faith continuum, but I found surprising connections, which I attribute to God, would come about from sources I didn't expect. I found studying at the uni library better than at home, and I met great people there … cleaners, mature students studying other subjects and even people who worked the coffee counter. Being friendly and reaching out to others, even when you don't feel like it, opens a lot of doors. Everyone's life journey is lonely at times; just keep pressing ahead. This time will develop you in ways you can't imagine. It will make you a more compassionate, caring person and nurse. Feel free to connect with me if NT allows this. Bless you

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Im in my final year now but like you i too felt out of it when i first started. It was hard but i slowly made friends with people in my tutor group, although much younger than myself we all had something in common.. passing the course. Dispite the age gap we have all supported each other with the younger students helping me understand things & me offering some life experience. It isnt essy doing nurse training but you can all support each other no matter you age. Good luck & arrange a night of socialising to get to know each other.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • In a word yes, I felt very lonely doing my adult nursing course. My only advice is stay focused on your goal, as a mature student I believe you have a lot more to lose than someone whose just come straight from 6th form or college and try and make your connections in placement your life experience counts for a lot.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I'am in my final year now and my university has a mx of school leavers and mature students. One thing I know about making friends at uni is. We are only friends either on campus or placement. I have not made any permanent friends. I have children but I fit in with everyone, no matter the age difference we are all in the same profession and we all have the same objectives and goals. So try to focus on that to help you complete the course.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.