Knitting Needles and Lessons Learned


I just read a really interesting article on Study Magazine’s website called “Why You Want a Mature Student in Your Study Group“. Now, I have to be honest here…I was a little skeptical that I would agree with the article once I read the title. After all, the main things that I remember about mature students from my time in university was that they sometimes had a nap during lectures, sometimes got annoyed with us “young scalawags”, and sometimes pulled out hard candies wrapped in that foil that makes a ton of noise during critical lectures (I have to say, I was more than just a little annoyed during those times).

But, the most memorable mature student that I can remember having in one of my classes was a woman (who must have been in her late 60’s) that used to bring her knitting to class. She would sit throughout the whole 3-hour lecture, knitting away. All I could hear was the click-click-click of knitting needles. Since I had a difficult time paying attention in class under the best of circumstances anyway, this added distraction nearly pushed me over the edge. It drove me insane. The only thing that I ever saw when I looked at her was an old granny-type who took that class for entertainment value; instead of listening to the TV while she knitted, she listened to my professor.

I couldn’t image wanting to have her in my study group. I didn’t care if she dropped a stitch; I wanted her to drop the class.

So, when I began reading this article by Trevor Prosser, I thought, “Okay, that’s pushing it a bit”; however, he made some interesting points that swayed my thinking and made me want to pass along these tidbits of wisdom to all of you college students out there.

The first point made in the article is that mature students are there to learn, plain and simple. They are not there to party or to appease parents; they are there to obtain knowledge. Whether they intend to utlise the new skills they’ve learned within the workforce or not, their true desire is simply to learn.

The second point that Trevor makes is that mature students don’t mess around with assignments. They are willing to put in the work that it takes to obtain and maintain good grades. They have worked hard all of their lives and that work ethic will continue in their academic careers as well.

Perhaps the most poignant point within the article (which definitely swayed my initial opinion) is that mature students tend to be extremely organised. Now, I am the type of person that isn’t always well-organised (although, I always seem to think that I am), so the thought of having someone to study with who could teach me valuable organisational skills is very appealing to me. I think that many young college/university students have no idea how to organise their belongings, their schedules, or even their thoughts, so it helps having someone nearby who is a bit of a pro.

After reading Trevor’s article, I realised that, perhaps, I was too harsh on the lady in my class with the knitting needles. When I really thought about it, I realised that she never missed a class, always seemed to have some brilliant insight into what the professor was saying (to the point that most of us didn’t have a clue what they were talking about), and always had a smile on her face. She was genuinely glad to be there, and didn’t take a moment for granted. Even to this day, I’ve always thought that her knitting was her priority and the class was something she did to just pass the time; however, I now think that the class was her main concern, and since she understood everything so easily, she didn’t need to even take notes. The knitting seemed to be just a way to keep her hands busy.

So, I wish that I had included her in my study group. Perhaps she could have helped me and I would have received a higher grade than a B- in that class.

So, students, the next time you’re looking for a new study group, look around. Go for the students who will be more of a help than a hindrance. If you’re not sure who that will be, listen for the click-click-click of knitting needles…


7 Responses to “Knitting Needles and Lessons Learned”

  1. 1 Anonymous

    Absolutely!! Spot on. Good advice.

  2. 3

    I’m an old phart as well, not quite that old 🙂 but getting closer.
    We need always to be skillful in our balance between drive and motivation, and tolerance and absorbtion. Those older than we have many things to learn from, and we can only stil impliment the learnings with our enthusiasm and drive. (oinke – great there is apparantly no spellcheck in this media, and I really need it so forgive me!).

    Anyway, you are a great writer and a very sensitive human being. All the best!


    • I agree with you in that we need to be balanced between drive and motivation and tolerance and absorption. I believe that it’s very easy for many young students (including myself a few years ago) to ignore many very valuable contributions that more mature students can make within a class. While I applaud those students’ drive to succeed, I do believe that (at times) those same students may cast aside opinions made by older students, only to realise somewhere down the road that they should have listened.

      There is much to be learned from those who have been living longer than we have; a very simple concept that is rarely understood.

      Thanks very much for the well thought out comment and kind words, Steve; it is greatly appreciated!

  3. 5 118dollars

    Good article.
    I am Roy from Hellojersey store.

  4. I can’t see you being too harsh with ANYONE! But that’s just me…

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