They say that journeys begin with a small step. Perhaps some do. But, if so, this doesn't feel like one of them. Not to me, at least. I love learning, and always have done. A degree, though, is something that has always eluded me. So, I sit here, 16 years on from when I first made an ill-fated attempt at higher education (three years, one HNC, and catastrophic personal problems) embarking on what I hope will be rather more successful journey than my last.
Returning to student-hood at the age of 34 is daunting, and it feels very strange. I am both excited and terrified; eager to begin and mindful of the commitment I am making, and the personal risks I am taking. For a myriad of reasons, my first sojourn into university life resulted in what I can only describe as a slow motion mental breakdown. It was not the university's fault, particularly, it was simply one of those things. I would be telling an untruth, though, if I didn't admit to a concern about the pressure this course could put me under, and the effect that might have.
And so, I want to take this moment to make three promises. These aren't promises to the university, other students, or my tutor; these are promises to myself:
- I promise to do my best to work hard; not only at my studies, but also at making the most of this opportunity.
- I promise that, when I face challenges and difficulties, I will strive to ask for help from my tutor, and others who support me.
- I promise that I will use the skills and knowledge I have gained from CBT, and access the support that is available to me, to help me stay as well and healthy as possible.
Even if all goes well, it will be six years from now before I can look back and say, "I have achieved what I set out to, graduated with a degree." There will be challenges, just as life always has ups and downs. In taking these first few steps, however, I have confidence that I can achieve what I am aiming for.
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