I'm a mature student, and I'll be starting law school in September. I went through the University of Toronto's academic bridging program and studied equity as a major and political science and history as minors.
For many years I worked as an animal control officer and wanted to open a dog daycare. However, after a two-year process, I wasn't able to get a licence from the city. That was really challenging, but I learned a lot. It showed me I was ready to pursue post-secondary education, so I enrolled in the bridging program and moved into full-time studies.
The bridging program is geared to filling the gaps in your readiness to complete school. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to go to U of T; my transcript as it was wouldn't have let me be accepted there.
It definitely prepared me for undergrad. The program offers a lot of resources and opportunities for people who need accessibility services or extra academic help. There are writing centres and services for those who lack confidence in their ability to complete school. There were areas I needed to work on, but it turned out there were areas where I thought I needed work but actually didn't. I didn't know any of that until I started at U of T.
For example, it turns out that I'm a good writer, but I have difficulty approaching a topic and getting started. I was intimidated by some of the projects. But once I started, I was fine - I just needed help in the guiding process.
I was often absent in high school, so I was worried about my general ability to complete school, time management and staying committed. But it wasn't a problem at all, because my motivation and focus had totally changed.
As a mature student, I was unsure how I would fit in on campus, but U of T has a thriving mature student population, including a mature student association, and I ended up joining the executive board. That led me to join the traditional student association, where I met students who were much younger, but we still had a lot of fun. I was the only mature student ever to have been a frosh leader. It showed me that mature students can choose their own path.
I would definitely encourage adults to think about pursuing education. Returning to student life is possible, especially through academic bridging.
I had a supportive bridging professor who got me off to a great start with undergrad. He helped me see my potential, so when I started my first year I felt confident. Being on the student association and getting involved in my college, I devoted a lot of time and energy to making it a really inclusive space, and that was rewarding for me.