We interviewed Lin Fidgin, 52, BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies, to discuss her experience of being a mature student here at Teesside Uni.

What’s it like?

I have loved every second. My age hasn’t seemed to matter, no one has cared. Students are all in it together to learn and grow as people whatever their age and I have really felt this inclusivity at Teesside. My tutors are relatable, approachable and supportive.

What have you enjoyed?

Meeting and studying alongside so many people from different cultures, countries and age groups. There really is a place for anyone here. I think coming to Teesside University as a mature student has shown me that the world can still be my oyster and I still have much to offer society which is exciting.

Any challenges?

I was diagnosed as having autism in the second year of my nursing degree, but I have always felt supported by my tutors and it hasn’t held me back.

I have found financial commitments difficult. The income reduction has been challenging. But I work as a student ambassador and with the NHS Professionals’ healthcare bank – both fit around my studies and student nurse placements. Having to work alongside my studies can sometimes be tiring but it’s a reality for me and many other students.

Have you enjoyed living in Teesside?

Yes, my social life has grown exponentially. I’ve made new friends whilst studying and, working as a student ambassador, I’ve explored much more of Teesside. I’ve been kayaking at Tees Barrage through the university. I even cycle to work and university now, enjoying the riverside paths because of my time here. Teesside is a friendly place, with so much hidden beauty and the University is great.

What about friends?

My first degree at Teesside was with a very small cohort and I got to know everyone well. It was a lovely experience. As a student ambassador I got to know a whole new set of students from all walks of life, and many of the university staff. It really helped expand my university experience in many ways – with the bonus of getting paid.

Any advice for other mature students?

Take the plunge. It’s NEVER too late and it will be so worth it in the end. You won’t be the only mature student. The personal gains are infinite. And, as a student at Teesside, the support on offer is vast and accessible. It can be life changing. I would advise looking into the financial support available and understanding the implications for you and your family (if you have one) before you go, just to prepare you for life as a student.

Could you sum up your experience in three words? 

Welcoming, opportunities, inclusive.