mobile navigation

Alumni News

Tips for Mature Students Returning to School

October 10, 2013

Thinking of upgrading or adding to your credentials following years of being out of the classroom? You’re not alone. Social Service Worker alumni Christine Longo and Shenaz Mawani were among this fast-growing segment of the post-secondary student population and offer some survival tips for prospective students and the newly graduated.

Christine Longo (Social Service Worker – Gerontology, 2010) has been the Outreach Counsellor for the Alzheimer Society Peel since graduation. She decided to pursue a community services career following many years in administrative roles. Christine spoke at Sheridan’s Mature Student Orientation session in August 2013.

Shenaz Mawani (Social Service Worker – Immigration and Refugee, 2012) is the Skills and Employment Program Counsellor at The Economic Planning Board for Ontario, a position she landed immediately after graduation. She enrolled at Sheridan following a 20-year career as a financial analyst.

Here’s a rundown of their advice:

Be open and accepting.

Christine: If you don't live with a teenager, make friends with one. There will be power point presentations, group work done by Skype and Facebook and Tweets. Remember that you have a lot to offer your classmates, too.

Shenaz: Don’t be afraid to connect with younger classmates. It was an 18-year-old student who helped me navigate the ins and outs of the education system in my first semester.

Tap into Sheridan resources.

Christine: Sign up for workshops through Student Services - anything from "How to be Organized" to "How to Read a Textbook." You may have had some bad habits from your past school life and this is where you change those habits into successful ones.

Shenaz: Your professors are here to help you succeed so make use of their hours. They and will help put everything in perspective, fuel your passion and remind you why you decided to pursue an education in this field.

Christine: They will also be your references for future placements and job opportunities. They can't be a reference if they have never met you or interacted in some way.

Make time for self-care.

Christine: You will need some "me time," especially during mid-terms and end of term projects. If you don't start these habits now you may find yourself overwhelmed and questioning your decision. Yoga, meditation, walking, anything that is not studying.

Don't be afraid.

Shenaz: Get yourself out there. Go to outreach events and start building relationships. You never know who you will meet. Volunteer as much as you can. I volunteered for a recruiting company where I learned a great deal about job creation and placement and gleaned tips for my own job search.

Christine: You must have come to this decision to return to school at a mature age due to some event in your life that caused some sort of self-reflection and re-evaluation. This took courage, now grab that fear and run with it. Focus on the goal of graduation and the career change or advancement you seek. That was the point in all of this.....wasn't it?

Interested in returning to Sheridan? Learn more here.