Mature and commuting students are a growing community at UEA who, pre-pandemic, had both established networks and communities who met regularly to attend events and meet ups, as well as getting involved with other clubs and societies available across UEASU.
What are these social opportunities?
- UEA’s Students’ Union
- There are over 250 clubs & societies
Clubs are typically based in the Sportspark and focus around sports, dance and other tonnes of other activities. Societies are looked after by UEASU, and range from subjects that align with your degree (such as Nursing, Film or Actuarial Science), to the weird and wonderful – such as the pasta appreciation society. If you can’t see something that you like, no problem! You can also start your own – just speak to UEASU about how to get started.
- Peer support networks to get involved in
There are eight peer support groups run through UEASU, these are groups of students who support one another through lived experience and are supported by staff to signpost to support and opportunities.
As a student, you can access any opportunity that interests you. All student groups undertake committee training and take an inclusive approach to students joining their groups regardless of background. Our university community is incredibly diverse and it’s one of the reasons it’s so wonderful. There is no obligation to get involved unless you want to, and some may choose not to (which of course is fine) but do know at least that these opportunities are available to you.
In fact, we encourage students being involved with social opportunities in a multitude of ways, including:
- Welcome fair / society fair – a lot of our student-led groups get involved with the welcome fair, providing information on their groups, give you the opportunity to meet new people with shared interests and sign up for anything that strikes your fancy.
- Do Something Different provides low cost and free opportunities for students to get involved in a range of activities, including day trips, events, taster sessions and more.
- There are regular events throughout the year, which are detailed through UEASU events page. The LCR based in UEASU is home to many live events and shows – it’s housed some brilliant, well-known bands since the early 1960’s (see the gig history here). UEASU also looks after the events available at the Waterfront, based on Riverside near UEA’s city centre.
If you have someone dependent on you, you’ll be pleased to learn that activities and workshops have been included for families and those with caring responsibilities, and you can get involved on a community level through the Sportspark or Sainsbury Centre.
We also have an on-site bed and breakfast called Broadview Lodge, who offer reduced cost rooms if you want or need to stay overnight. For room prices or to book, please visit the Broadview Lodge pages.
If you’re worried about your commute or balancing other commitments, don’t worry – we were successfully running regular coffee mornings, virtual happy hours, Netflix parties and quizzes online throughout Covid restrictions and have endeavoured to continue balancing a nice mix of both online and in-person moving forward.
To see what kinds of events are available through the union, please visit the UEASU event pages
Mature Student & Commuter Student Facebook Groups
If you use social media, you may want to check out the UEA Mature Student group as well as the Commuter Student group for information and news and get involved with discussions. Our mature student group have arranged for these fantastic ‘mature student’ hoodies so that you can show off your student status with pride, without fear of being mistaken for an academic.
Work opportunities and careers support for mature and commuting students
Did you know that alongside paying for the highly-rated teaching and facilities at UEA, your fee also helps to pay for the services available too? Not only does this include everything that the Student Services teams provide, but also for dedicated careers support as well.
UEA’s Careers Service provide a huge range of career help, from one to one appointment with specialist advisors, careers fairs and workshops, through to providing students with fantastic opportunities like achieving awards, like the UEA Award.
The UEA Award is an opportunity for students that recognises a range of skills and attributes gained through academic and non-academic activities and rewards based on number of hours completed. There are three stages of award, Bronze, Silver and Gold.
CareersCentral also provide details of numerous job opportunities including part-time employment and internships across the university and beyond. These are flexible roles that are manageable alongside your studies and pay a living wage. These roles are advertised on CareersCentral pages.
Many students work part-time alongside their studies, but this often depends on the type of course you’re taking. For example, if you're studying in health or medicine, your placements will be the equivalent of a full-time job, so please consider your health and other commitments before agreeing any additional work.
Managing caring or life responsibility and independent study
Managing numerous responsibilities on top of study can be a challenge. If you’re caring for others whilst you’re studying at UEA, here are some tips to help you get into the flow and find your balance.
- Book in an initial meeting with your Academic Adviser. Not only will this help you get to know them, but they will be your first port of call in many instances so it’s worth letting them know of any other responsibility you’re managing alongside your studies so they can best provide you advice and support.
- Get a Buddy! Our Students’ Union provides a brilliant free buddy service to new students where you can get matched to another trained student mentor to help find your feet at UEA. Students are matched based on a number of criteria and it’s a fantastic way to meet new people who have been in a similar position to you when they started university. Sign up through this link.
- Familiarise yourself with UEA’s Library Service and academic librarian for your faculty; there are a multitude of resources available in both hard copy and digital format, as well as software to support anyone with specific learning difficulties. Not only can you search for books on the go, but you can utilise their ‘first assignment’ portal to gain helpful insight and support with your assignments.
- Plan your time – we’re sure you’re already a time management pro, but we’ve put together some resources to help you stay on top whilst you’re studying. You can download and print the following semester planner as well as these brilliant time management tips to help you prioritise if you’re finding it tricky.
- Be kind to yourself – we understand that at busy times looking after yourself can sometimes take second place but it’s important to find time to do so when you can. UEA is committed to supporting you and has a range of services to help you get some help with your wellbeing, learning enhancement and with settling into student life.
- Engage with the social activities, where you can and if you want to. Our Mature Student Peer Support Group provide lots of support for each other and have a committee role for parents and carers to ensure our events are inclusive. We host online events like our virtual happy hours and coffee mornings and have run ‘stay and play’ events at Union House in the past (and hope to again if restrictions). If you use social media, please feel free to join UEA’s mature student forum.
Dedicated spaces for mature students
Many current mature students feedback that their favourite place on campus aside from the extensive Library building is the space dedicated for mature and postgraduate students called ‘Scholars bar’. This magical space can be found upstairs in Union House where you can find comfortable seating and a kitchen. You will need your campus card to gain access, which can be requested from UEASU staff. Feel free to visit 'Space on Campus for you' for tips on how to gain access and for information about navigating campus.
To help you get into the flow of planning your travel around your timetable and social activities, we’ve put together this handy planner. Either download and amend it online so you can keep it handy or download to keep on you. From looking ahead at the weather and noting down things to remember, to costs and timings, we’ll help you become pro at commuting.
We’re also stocking some free commuter pin badges for you to can choose to wear on your lanyard (or wherever). Who knows, perhaps you’ll discover new travel buddies to help the commute go quicker! You can collect a pin badge and printed copies of the travel planner from the following locations:
- The Travel Lodge
- Union Helpdesk
- Registry reception
Around a third of our student body commute to university for both academic and non-academic student life. Some of our current commuting students share their insight and tips when travelling into university and to ensure you don’t miss out on valuable experiences.
UEA(su) have also put together some brilliant information for commuters on their community pages, including where to find free hot water and lockers.
You'll also find useful information, including tips for studying on the go, on the Student Life Team's pages on My UEA (you will need to have registered with UEA to be able to log in to view this page).
Budgeting / money-saving tips
- Student discounts – it has to be up there with one of the biggest perks of learning… freebies and discounts! Check out Martin Lewis’s Money Saving tips for students; it’s packed full of 50+ tips to help you save money – go and give it a read!
- Consider opening a student bank account for the duration of your studies – many offer perks such as a free 16-25 railcard (which includes mature students!) or a 0% overdraft.
- First Bus offer UEA students a fantastic reduction in bus fare costs which can help save hundreds a year if you’re travelling regularly by bus.
- Did you know that you’re exempt from paying council tax when you’re studying? This could mean a reduction in household costs throughout the duration of your studies.
- If you find budgeting your student finance payments tricky, or need help understanding your entitlement, UEA has a financial advice service to help you find a better flow of things. You can find more information or fill in a referral (you will need to have registered at a student to access this page).