Returning to Learning

Are you returning to education after a break? Does the thought of studying again fill you with trepidation as well as excitement? Are you anxious that you won’t be able to ‘keep up’ with other students?

You are not alone! Students who are returning to study after time away sometimes feel that their academic skills are ‘rusty’, and worry about whether they will be able to remember how to undertake academic study, or write assignments. However, research shows that students who return to study after a break from education are often found to be more motivated, self-determined, focussed and hard-working (Hunter-Johnson, 2017; Kasworm, 2018). Our experience has also shown that given the right encouragement and access to support, all students have the potential to achieve, regardless of their age or stage in life.

Did you know?

… that Edge Hill University have a high percentage of students who have not come directly from school or college? The most recently available statistics show that more than a third (35.4%) of our students in the 2017/2018 academic year were over 25, and almost a quarter (24.8%) were over 30. While higher education does not have an upper age limit, the chances are that there will be several people on your course who are returning to education after a significant break.

The Returning to Learning community of support has been developed to offer a safe space for students re-entering education at Edge Hill to reconnect with learning and share their experiences with others in the same boat. We also welcome anyone who has previously been in the same position, and can offer peer support or tips for ways to ease back into an educational setting.

Returning to Learning Ethos

Our aim is to create a community of positive support to help develop the confidence of returning students, enabling them to believe that they can achieve, and be academically successful. To ensure that we can offer our students the best experience, we draw upon research, our experience and academic skills knowledge, as well as students’ own ideas about what they need, to best support their transition back into education.

The Returning to Learning group will meet on the first Wednesday of every month between 2pm-4pm in The Willow Room, Catalyst. Whether you are totally new to university, are in your final year, or are returning to postgraduate study, why not come along and share your experiences? Each session will offer you the opportunity to:

  • Meet other Returning to Learning students
  • Share your concerns about returning to academic study at university
  • Learn how others in this situation have adapted to Higher Education
  • Suggest tips for effective learning
  • Develop your academic resilience

At each session we will also aim to gather information about any key areas of concern for the group, and will use this to design a short, structured session, to run at the start of the session the following month.

Book online at ehu.ac.uk/workshops or simply drop in on the day! 🙂

References
HUNTER-JOHNSON, Y., 2017. Demystifying Educational Resilience: Barriers of Bahamian Nontraditional Adult Learners in Higher Education. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education. 65 (3), pp. 175-186.

KASWORM, C. E., 2018. Adult Students: A Confusing World in Undergraduate Higher Education. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education. 66 (2), pp. 77-87.

UniSpeaks takes off!

Last month saw the first gathering of Edge Hill’s UniSpeaks group, and what a beautiful day to get together! The gorgeous February sunshine brought with it a small but enthusiastic group of students to discuss their fears and concerns about public speaking.

The environment was friendly and welcoming, and we were all able to share our worries about situations where we felt out of our comfort zones. Some were anxious about academic presentations, others about prospective interviews, and I am still nervous about delivering sessions to groups of students (despite it being my job!) … public speaking anxiety can happen to us all!

The discussion ranged from how people felt when they presented, to ideas about creating formal structures to follow in different situations. Some of the group also discussed times that they had experienced unusual ways of developing confidence in speaking in front of others, which has inspired an idea for an activity in our next get-together.

February’s UniSpeaks was an inspiring session, why don’t you come along and join us in March?

You can learn more about ways to present, join in the conversation, or simply sit back and watch others practice until you feel confident enough to have a go yourself at a later date.

Unispeaks runs on the last Wednesday of every month, and our next session takes place on 27th March at 2pm. Book here to join us: https://bit.ly/2Sv2yFy