Are you one of Chester’s mature students? HELEN CRAIG is promoting the MatSoC society’s online social events hosted weekly on Teams.
Then vs Now
There are many reasons why you might not be attracted to engaging with your society right now.
If you are a mature student like me, you may have commitments to both children and parents, or you may be grappling with living in a new country. Many trainee nurses and teachers are mature students, consisting of long days filled with studying and very little time to relax. The student experience is very different from how it was back in the day, with students of all ages now having to spend part of their week doing paid work.
For all these reasons, it’s hard to believe that, nice though it would be, spending time relaxing and make friends at university is valuable.
Covid constraints... and opportunities?
With Covid-19 restrictions in place, meetups are off the cards and as such, it's especially difficult to interact with other students, especially now that many students are not actually living near their university site.
Other mature students have already been living in a family setting or with a partner before choosing to study locally, so they could live anywhere from Wales to Merseyside and beyond.
So, no matter where you are, you can remain connected to an online community that may not have otherwise existed before Covid.
Two sides of the same screen
Many people say that after online lectures and seminars, the last thing they fancy is more screen time. But I’m here to tell you that a social meeting does not tie you to your chair indefinitely, in that mysterious way that lectures and reading resources do. You don’t have to stare relentlessly at the screen for hours or make notes. You can sit back, jiggle around, talk to your household, laugh, have a drink and just be free.
The power is in your hands!
When it comes to your commitments, I’m keen to put across that the timing of events in MatSoC is up to you. If you suggest and host events, you can pick the time. You can include family, partners and housemates.
If all you can do is a half an hour coffee and chat at a set time each week and then talk to us, commit to putting it on, and be prepared for the possibility of nobody showing up.
I advise you to go to where you’d normally have coffee (as long as it’s within the government guidelines), take a book, the radio, or talk to colleagues, and boom! Someone might appear on screen, hurrah!
Give us a try, what have you got to lose? Membership is free!
If the MatSoC committee arranges events with you in mind, please do try to come along. We can assure you that there are no well-formed cliques that will be hard to break into. We’ll always be welcoming and try to settle people in comfortably. If someone has suggested and is hosting an event off their own bat, after consulting us, we will expect them to do that, too.
Although virtual connections are what we're limited to at the moment, it's a great way to meet other mature students and stay connected. It’s about creatively imagining ways to overcome the obstacles in front of us, and finding ways to increase our store of warmth, friendship, and happy times.
Written by Helen Craig, President of MatSoC Society
Helen is an MA student in English Language and Linguistics at Chester and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in MatSoC events, you can come along to one of their lunchtime chats on Fridays at 1:30 pm, or their Trivia Quiz at 8 pm on Saturday 30th January (warning: please prepare five trivia questions.) If not, perhaps your society or department is hosting online social events you could “go to”.