Mature Student Guilt

I don’t know if this is really a thing or whether it’s just me but the ‘mature student guilt’ has really been getting to me over the past few months – especially since summer came around and I’m no longer in taught lectures. What am I on about? The pervasive feeling of guilt whenever my husband talks about his career goals, we’re struggling for extra cash or we don’t have the disposable income to do something we really want to.

As someone who used to earn a crust I’ve been finding it more and more difficult to be a student in the financial sense. I have a part time job, a bursary (thank goodness I got the last year of them!) and a maintenance loan to see me through and technically we aren’t struggling, but it was my choice that took us from being a two income household that could afford a holiday and the odd night out to having to budget every last penny. At times it makes me feel like the worst person in the world. I can easily entertain myself for nothing, find ways to socialise without spending much and create a household budget that keeps costs low and I do any chance I get. Yet because I am no longer significantly contributing to our income I feel like a freeloader and a burden – not great when a marriage is meant to be a team.

You might already be aware that G (my husband) wants to become a commercial pilot – something which I support wholeheartedly, but it is an inherently expensive process. Had I stayed in my previous role he could have already made some serious steps forward but it may have cost me my mental health. The decision for me to go back to university was one we made together. In fact G encouraged me despite my concerns about finances, his career aspirations and our quality of life should I become a student again. He still supports my decision and honestly doesn’t complain, but each month as birthdays, family events and general life expenses get in the way his aspirations get pushed to the back of the list while he supports us.

It’s an incredibly bitter pill to swallow when I am fully committed to chasing mine and I’m really struggling with it at the minute. It’s something we talk about a lot and although there isn’t any resentment (that he shows me) and he consistently offers reassurance and support when I question whether it was the right decision, it’s difficult to see yourself holding back the person you love. It’s like trying to run a three legged race at different paces; you’re heading for the same finish line but you keep tripping each other up and just can’t get it right. If anyone has any advice on how to feel like less of a burden I’d greatly appreciate it because I just don’t know what to do with myself.

Fellow mature students – is this a common feeling or is my situation a unique one?

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