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Late Studentship: Academic Aspiration, Personal Growth, and the Death of the Past

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image of Journal of Phenomenological Psychology

Because of the recent rapid transition in Britain from an elite system of higher education (HE) to one in which a much larger propor tion of the population is intended to participate, many students—whose social backgrounds would previously have (to a large extent) precluded their involvement in HE—experience strangerhood within academia in a particularly acute form. This paper deals with the experiences of members of an one particular HE course, especially designed for students over 21 years old—such "mature" students are a group who has not been traditionally found in large numbers in British HE Such students describe dramatic changes in their sense of self and in their relationships with others—to the extent that their biographical continuity with their own past becomes problematical.The applicability of an idea touted by certain postmodern writers, "the new selfconsciousness," is considered. Attention is also paid to the practical implications of the findings.


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