I was nervous as hell when this came around. It was a saturday and although Id been at college with other adults attempting to return to education few had made it through to the final exams, 9 out of 21 to be exact. Two other younger guys were applying to the same degree I was but with a child at home, no money and a lot of pressure I didn’t socialise much and gave most in my class the bare minimum of time in between classes. The short version, I went to the open day alone. I’d looked up the university map, found where I needed to be and arrived fifteen minutes early than recommended.
At first I thought Id arrived at some kids open day for students who planned on going to uni in about 5 years time but no. I was greeted by a student representative who looked no older than the other children present, I was in the right place I was told. I took heart in seeing a number of other mature men and women walking around in reasonable abundance so I felt a little more comfortable. That was until it became apparent that some of these children had brought their parents! In fact from seeing the queue forming to go into the lecture theatre most had and it had occurred to me that I was even older than most of their parents. As we were ushered in to the lecture theatre I was pretty sure that I was not treated as a potential student and it was assumed I was there with my son or daughter. I gently excused the sales pitch and headed on inside.
Id only ever seen a lecture theatre in movies and most did not look like this, it was huge, wasn’t done in traditional wood materials and was packed out to the point that a lot of folk were standing. The course modules were relayed to us and some very young looking students told us of their first days at uni and how it was tough leaving home for the first time and how to get by without mummy and daddy. I had left home as soon as I could back in those days and worked for a living, oh how things have changed. Although I would be lying if I didn’t say I relied on my parents for short sessions of crashing in my old room at times. The whole episode was over quickly enough, less than an hour and it mostly concentrated on why come to my city, which Id lived for a very long time anyway, and all the great things you could do in the evenings after school. I would have preferred more school content but Im guessing they didn’t want to scare away potential customers. From the amount of dropouts and transfer requests I have seen at my course since I would definitely think they should do less on the fun and more on the academics and basics skills required for computer science.
I left as Id arrived, I sought no further information and headed on down the road alone. There were some groups and clubs there and I left feeling that emphasis was on clubbing nights in the area and the non school side of things, which might just be what attracts these kids to university over a sensible career move. If I think back to when I was 17 or 18 I wouldn’t even have contemplated going anywhere that didn’t have a nightlife I suppose so it probably works. Having said all that, it was only about 3 weeks before my final exams of my foundation course and overall I left feeling excited about finally going to university, not of the clubs, drink promotions, the ornithologists club, fine dining or kick boxing my city had to offer. Id done all these things already and it was time to finally move my life into a direction I wanted rather than being at the mercy of the wind. I still had to pass the highest level mathematics pre university requires but I was optimistic and was doing well so far. I knew a lull lay before me, I would have my exam marks within a month and 2 months before all the school kids did so would have to wait an aching 3 months to hear if Id been accepted. My next topic in a few days time.