Drawing on research conducted with older first generation (FG) students studying at
a regional Australian university, this chapter explores how attending university
interacted with the apriori life experiences of both learners and their families.
Adopting a narrative inquiry approach, participants in two studies were encouraged
to reflect deeply on their experiences of ‘moving into’ the university environment with
particular reference to how they drew upon their life and work experiences in their
transition and engagement with higher education. This analysis draws upon the
Community Cultural Wealth framework developed by Yosso (2005), which recognises
the cultural strengths of diverse student groups. In addition the work of Sen (1992,
2003) provides further theoretical framing to contextualize how older, FG students
managed this return to learning, with particular reference to the relative freedoms
individuals had access to during this transition. The focus of this chapter is the ways
in which older students defined and enacted ‘success’ within the tertiary
environment, including the ways in which they utilised existing knowledges and skills
in this enactment.