Lori describes being back at school as a blessing after a non-academic career but says there certainly are challenges. The campus environment seems like it is geared to the young single starving student and it can be challenging for someone who has been working full time for a lengthy period of time to fit in with their peers says Lori. Lori says that it takes a little while but eventually graduate school starts feeling like a job, and when you go to work there are some people who are 20 and some people are over 70. What she recommends to other mature students though is to get involved with your department because you get to know other students and share experiences. Lori is currently the secretary and treasurer for the Graduate English Society and she says this helps her get out and take initiative with her peers.
“Lori says the one nice thing about being at this stage of life is that when people ask what are you going to do after your PhD, she says the sky is the limit.”
Lori explains that sometimes social events seem geared towards a younger demographic and even though students probably do not mind having mature students attend it is almost a feeling to get past yourself. She suggests that more structured events (such as lab socials, TA events) are a bit easier and the more you get involved on campus the easier it is to get past this internal barrier. Lori also says that it is important to educate our campus to recognize that graduate students are Not All the Same, someone with grey hair is not necessarily a professor but could be your fellow student. Lori says that mature students have a lot of experience that they can share with their peers and younger students have a lot that they can contribute too.
After completing a degree in Creative Writing and English, Lori fell in love with Literary Studies and decided to pursue English in grad school. She was accepted into the Masters program at Western and then decided to continue towards her PhD. She says the one nice thing about being at this stage of life is that when people ask what are you going to do after your PhD, she says the sky is the limit.