Back to uni as a mature student

2023-09-25 03:09     BY Saw Min Khaung Htet, Henry    Comment:0

A famous British writer and theologian C.S Lewis said; “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” Indeed, it is never too late to implement a dream.

As for me, I have yearned to study at an international university since my high school days. I imagined learning new things and making friends with people from different parts of the world and that it would be thrilling. However, the dream was not realised until 2023, when the University of St. Joseph accepted me. My wish became a reality, but in a different version: returning to university as a mature student. Despite its challenges, it is a worthwhile experience.

When I returned to university life, I was already in my late 30s. However, there are some reasons why I believe it is worth doing. After graduating and working as a physiotherapist in my own country, I decided to work in Singapore, where I could have more opportunities. I was able to widen my knowledge, learn new things, and earn more money to support my loved ones. Working in different settings gave me confidence and trained me to be mature. Learning how to balance work and life was quite useful.

Just like in other first-world countries, improving the national skill levels is an important policy in Singapore. In my seven years of staying [in the city state], I found out the importance of upgrading oneself in that dynamic environment. Otherwise, I would be left behind. As a result, I realised how I could upskill myself. The answer was that there is no other way than through education.

For a full-time healthcare worker like me, thinking about dedicating myself to pursuing a post-graduate programme was a challenge. Therefore, I looked for alternative ways of improving my skills in terms of clinical, language, and technical. Short courses and online training became my training ground. Nevertheless, I always kept it in mind to study at a university.

Currently, I am studying in the Faculty of Religious Studies and Philosophy. This time I am no longer a health care worker but still a migrant and also a seminarian.

In the midst of my happiness and enjoyment, I also encountered challenges because I left my profession, which provided me with financial support for many years. Another thing is my parents, whom I supported for many years.  

Nevertheless, I put my trust in God. This faith helps me survive whenever I face challenges.  The support of my religious congregation also means a lot to me. I do not need to worry about money for studying and living.

Therefore, I do hope and encourage that dreams will come true when you are persistent and faithful. 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

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