Have you ever bored yourself rigid with “Someday I will” thoughts? Someday I will be skinny, someday I will leave this terrible job, and someday I will travel the world. Well my ‘someday’ was “Someday I’ll be a social worker”. Anyone who has known me for the last few years will have heard this story and rolled their eyes when I’ve repeated it for the 50th time. The reality is that I have wanted to be a social worker for 27 years. I was poised ready to go at age 17, when I fell in love and became pregnant, then got married (yes in that order). My life for the last 23 years have been devoted to my children and keeping the wolf from my door by working and working. Now I still need to work, but not as many hours. My children are grown up and ready to leave home and this year I ran out of excuses for not going to college, so I’m there.
I started mid September on an access course to higher education and thought I’d share with you what it’s like to be 41 and back at college. The first few days are chaos; no-one knows where they are meant to be, you sit through health and safety talk that instruct you on what to do in the event of plague, pestilence and nuclear war. Then there are compliance issues and you find out what wont be tolerated (everything from knife crime to using the library chairs to race each other). Sadly week one is when I realised that I couldn’t function in the year 2011 without being BFF (best friends forever) with some sort of computer system. By week two I’d stopped looking like a stranger in a strange land and felt confident enough to find the 3rd floor coffee shop,alone. Quite an achievement for a woman who has lived in Bideford for 41 years and still gets lost in Barnstaple.
My subjects are Psychology and Sociology. Also thrown in are I.T (Boo!) Study Skills (essential) and English G.C.S.E equivalent. Reader, may I indulge myself in a rant? thanks. I have passed my blooming English exams at O level and C.S.E. I also have certificates from 3 years ago when I passed my N.V.Q 3 and took English tests. I applied for college, completed an English assessment and passed at level 2, but still I needed to take English again. Universities like recent qualifications so not only is it never too late to gain qualifications, it’s actually a better idea to pass your exams as near to starting a training or university course as possible. Anyway, rant over.
So how is it all going I hear you ask? No? You’re not asking? How rude! Well I’ll tell you anyway. Do you remember how it felt when you first fell in love? Go on, look at your partner and think back…got it? Wednesday can’t come round soon enough. Wednesday Thursday and Friday are college days, and when I walk through the massive automatic doors it feels like I’ve come home. College is my love. It’s not an “it’s complicated” relationship, it is true love. When I am apart from my love I miss it, I can’t stop thinking about it and I talk about it endlessly with uninterested strangers until they plead for mercy with their eyes and I stop. Everything about college inspires you to do better. The vast library is packed full of everything you need and smells glorious. Close your eyes now and you will be able to recall that school book smell. My tutors fascinate and are the right temperament to make me pay attention. I am easily annoyed and none of them annoy me to my great relief. I am especially entertained by my English teacher who I find to be lively, interesting and eloquent. To be around people who have a real passion and love for the subject they teach is both incredibly exciting and strangely calming. As a student I am a little unbearable. I am a real swot and a bit of a teacher’s pet. Psychology and Sociology suit me well and I’ve always had a real interest in both. Study skills gives you the tools you need to effectively study. Everything from writing essays to university application and taking notes during lectures is covered. So if you are thinking of becoming a mature student stop thinking and do it. What’s the worst that can happen? I have met some incredible people who I already adore and I am so proud of myself for finally manning up and doing it. As I am writing for a local publication I will take this opportunity to make some apologies. I apologise to my children for not listening to them over the years when they have patiently tried to teach me I.T, massive fail on my part. I also apologise to my best friends who have had to listen to me drone on about media bias, Functionalism and extraneous variables…oh and put up with me doing personality tests on them. Finally I need to say sorry to the lovely Quenchers customers who innocently pop in for a tasty can or bottle and find themselves subjected to questioning on Marxism, Feminism and Maslow… just to warn you all it’s Freud next, super ego anyone?
Tracey Branch. Dedicated to my best friend Laura with love.