As a 38 year old mature student the prospect of starting a career in Architecture is very daunting, not least for the 7 years or so it takes to become a fully fledged architect.
It is some 20 years now since I completed my A-Levels and 15 years since I concluded my last stint of study at university.
As the first day of term neared I was a little apprehensive about how the other students would perceive me, given I was so much older than many of them. However I was really pleased to be so readily accepted and I have made some good friends. I hadn’t anticipated the importance of your peers when working in a creative discipline, but you learn so much from your interactions with other students that forging these relationships is key to getting the most out of the course.
My first year has been a great experience. The field trips into London and the main one to France and Belgium encouraged friendships while exposing us to some amazing architecture, inspiring many great projects. I’ve found the work fun and really interesting; even if the workload sometimes means not seeing daylight for a while!! The way you’re taught means one minute you’ll be learning about sustainable technologies, the next trying to find the best way to produce a quality scale model. There’s always something new to learn.
I don’t think university is easier second time around. Full-time study is very demanding and requires real commitment. However I think the work ethic and organisational skills you bring to your studies as a mature student do stand you in good stead for juggling all of the demands on your time.
The course is a fantastic chance to be inspired by other students and tutors to discover what’s out there, and what you are capable of designing. I can’t wait to see what happens in second year!
Having made the change I don’t regret it for a single moment (although the pay isn’t up to much!) and I feel that the welcoming and dynamic atmosphere at Brighton University has eased the transition back into student life.