Mish Casserly
BA(Hons) Interior Design
Mature student

Allow me to introduce myself. Mish, mature age student of 41, parent to a seven-year-old daughter and third year Interior Design student. I am also a long way from my original home, being the west coast of Australia. Cornwall has been my home since 2006.

Deciding to leave full-time employment and enter the world of education was easy. I desired a better life for my daughter, alongside a drive to work for myself, and I needed a change of direction. Although meant with some anxiety, knowing I would spend the next three years with students half my age or close to it. This took some adjustment at first; however, I do enjoy being around my fellow students - after all age is just a number. Many have been a massive support, especially when it comes to software needs. Older does not mean wiser! I never went to university after leaving high school - entering into the world of learning at this level did cause me some anxieties. Am I good enough? Can I handle the level that is required? This did not stop me. I always wanted to go and it was now or never. Here I am; sometimes I have to kick myself that I made it. Being in a learning environment is great - there are times I feel like a fish out of water. Lecturers have been very helpful, and I have had no problems talking to any of them when the need arises.

Before taking up a three-year degree, I spent a year at Truro College, completing an Art and Design Foundation Diploma. This gave a great foundation to start from and, of course, being used to being back in education after years of working. As I reflect over the last two years of my degree, with many many, many challenges along the way, I certainly do not regret making the decision. I have made friends with two mature age students; we have become close friends and enjoy each other's company outside of uni. Looking back to my first week, I checked out a couple of clubs. Unfortunately, none took off. It was more about time, not the want to get involved. I would certainly recommend getting involved in a club or society if possible; it helps to mix things up. For this last year, I put myself forward for the role of Course Rep to add a little spice to my last year, and hopefully be part of making some positive changes.

Here are some helpful tips I have discovered along the way.

  1. Allow yourself time for any assignments and research. Deadlines will sneak up before you know it. Do not leave things to the last minute
  2. Be sure to learn any new software as early as possible
  3. Make use of any learning support available. The Students’ Union has been brilliant
  4. As far as money is concerned, budget and make no unnecessary purchases. It is not forever.

I certainly enjoy being a student and will miss being one. I have learned a lot of new skills; you are never too old to learn. My eyes have been opened to a whole new world - now I am thinking about doing a masters. Perhaps in a year or two. If you are reading this and wondering what to do, I say go for it.