I'm Sara, a MA Social Anthropology student and the 2020/21 Mature Students Officer.
I stood for election because - although 21 feels like yesterday - I’m one of many mature students here at SOAS. According to a 2012 NUS report, “mature entry to university has risen… from approximately 10%… in 1980 to nearly a third of the undergraduate student body today.”
Despite this, there is still a tendency from society to imagine the ‘typical university student’ as 18-21 years old, unmarried, childless, fresh-from-school and probably living away from home for the first time. This preconception can shape everything - from how teaching is delivered, to what welfare provisions are made and the type of social events that are organised. It can be easy for mature students to be forgotten, and difficult for universities to know how to support us. With this in mind, I nominated myself and was elected in autumn 2020 for the rest of the academic year.
[Note: Mature Students are a self-defining category, if you have had one or more years out of education and/or feel older than many people in your cohort, you are welcome to identify as a Mature Student. There is no 'set age' to be involved.]
This year I am focusing on:
- Creating Social Spaces for mature students, (whether 25 or 65, undergrad or postgrad, full-time or part-time) - get in touch with me if you want to join our thriving 130-member WhatsApp group, and keep an eye on the SU WhatsOn Newsletter to hear about our regular Zoom Socials.
- Supporting Student Parents, Part-Time Students and other Mature Students with additional work/life/family/financial pressures due to the pandemic and related lockdown/remote-learning situation (get in touch for more details);
- Signposting SU and wider SOAS services to Mature Students - and working with other members of Exec Committee to make sure their voices are heard in meetings and considered in the development of internal policies;
- Advocating for more tailored academic and career support for Mature Students, especially those who are studying at SOAS to change professional fields.
Please don't hesitate to contact me to talk more about any of the above topics or any other issues related to Mature Students - firstname.lastname@example.org