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From my own experience as a mature student (as well as having worked with mature students, and taught mature students) you tend to think that actually everything's against you: the system isn't set up for you, you are different to the point of not being able to fit in. That's a very easy thing to persuade yourself of when you're surrounded by people who're 18 to 24. But actually it can get in the way of you understanding that you've got an awful lot in common with these people – not least because you're sat on the same degree programme, studying alongside them, learning the same things. And actually you've got the advantage of life experience. All sorts of bits of experience come into play, and they enrich your experience of education, but also can be very useful in group discussions, when other people don't have any experience to draw on. So I think you need to stop feeling like a victim, feeling as if it's all unfair, and it's all too late. Because actually you get consumed by those feelings, and then you're not enjoying your education.

            A friend of mine said (particularly with regard to PhD study, but I think this is applicable to mature students at any stage of Higher Education) [that] to treat it as a Consumption Good and not an Investment Good. That means: enjoy it. Enjoy it while it's there. You're buying an education; that's what you're doing. So revel in it. It may be an Investment Good as well, but split the two things up, and value the education you're getting in the first instance. I think, as far as what happens afterwards is concerned (of course many mature students will go into education purely for the consumption side of it, and not for the investment side of it) but many others are looking for a way to make a life change (whether that's from being at home with children, to going out to work, or from working in an area that they've found themselves in, and actually want to be moving across to something quite different). So don't feel it's too late. Enjoy the education while you're getting it, and explore the opportunities that there are for you outside, (of course) remembering that many employers want experience. And that's something that many of the other undergraduates are challenged to get during their degree.