Personal Development

How To Navigate Through The Trenches Of Adult Education

December 2, 2017, Comments Off on How To Navigate Through The Trenches Of Adult Education

Study! Revise! Exam! These three words absolutely haunted me as a teenager but as an adult, I was petrified to say the least. I would liken Adult education to getting lost in a very large forest, with no compass, barefoot…in the winter season. It is a maze, and you need a vast amount of courage to navigate the trajectory.

Education instilled fear in me because I was such a failure in my younger years. I did not properly study between the ages of 10 & 16, those years were spent watching Dragonball Z, playing Beyblade and a somewhat strange addiction to Veggietales (Yes, I was a nerd, but not in an intelligent sense). My GCSEs were poor in every sense of the word and I just couldn’t bring myself to retake them. I lost confidence and figured I’d have to just work with what I’ve got as i felt it was way too late to rectify the situation.

As I became older I started to realise the adverse effects of not taking my education seriously during my teenage years. I managed to fumble my way through two apprenticeships and miraculously found a permanent job in the health care sector. I married the love of my life and became a father to a wonderful little girl and boy. However, I felt like something was missing. It was almost as if I had unfinished business. Although my career was going somewhat well given the circumstances, I knew that there was more for me than just getting by.

After much internal deliberation I finally figured out what I wanted to do. This was the first step but I had some hills I had to climb before I could achieve my goals.

After much internal deliberation I finally figured out what I wanted to do. This was the first step but I had some hills I had to climb before I could achieve my goals.

Obstacle 1: Excuses

Firstly, I had to stop making silly excuses. I kept telling myself that there is no way I could go back into education because I was a father, I had too many responsibilities, it would be so embarrassing to learn amongst teenagers as an adult and that I just wasn’t smart enough. Every single one of those excuses was an obstacle I had to mentally overcome.

Navigation: Research

Google can truly be the greatest of tools in the right hands. I begin looking at my options. I started searching for access to higher education courses, primarily in the field I wanted to study. Because I had a family I had to support I looked specifically at courses that allowed me to work in the day and study in the evening. Lo and behold, I found a course that fitted my exact requirements.

The only problem was; I live in South East London and the course was based all the way in Canterbury…

Obstacle 2: The Hard Shift

I combed the internet and only found one course that fitted around my work and family schedule, but Canterbury? I thought that was way too far. I started to realise this would not be an easy feat in the slightest. If I was to truly achieve my dreams, I would have to take on the hard shift and put all my energy into doing what was necessary.

Navigation: Sacrifice

One of the lessons I did not learn as a teenager was that sacrifice is integral to greatness. I had to revaluate my finances and readjust my work schedule accordingly. I then decided to make the trip to Canterbury, three times a week; including Saturdays, why? Because I wanted an education so bad I didn’t want my comfortability to be my fork in the road.

However, when you make such a big decision, it is inevitable that someone will tell you, ‘it’s not a good idea’

Obstacle 3: The Naysayers

No path is complete without resistance. Naysayers go hand in hand with the journey. Your dreams are exactly that, your dreams, which means that while most would encourage you to strive, there are also some that feel your dream is out of your own reach.

Navigation: Headphones

You have to learn to sift through negative energy and constructive criticism. Treat those words like an Apple Music playlist, turn up the volume on those bangers you enjoy and turn down the volume on those tunes that add absolutely nothing to your life (Like every single song by Lil Uzi Vert). Always give respect to those that care enough to give you advice but also be brave enough to determine what is useful and what is not. Rest assured, if your ideas scare you as well as the people around you, you’re certainly doing something right because dreams are made to be bigger than your current reality.

As well as study an access to higher education course, I also decided I needed to fix those embarrassing GCSE results. The process was awkward, stressful and quite frankly nerve-racking but I overcame simply because I was focused and determined. I could sit here and tell you all the skills you need but realistically we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. However, the most important thing to remember is that if you keep your eye on the prize, regardless of how hard it gets, you have what it takes to get to the place you’ve so earnestly wanted to go.

Adult education is a challenge but it can be very enjoyable and ultimately rewarding. Don’t shy away from bettering yourself because of past misdemeanours, instead use your bad falls to keep you running and jumping over those obstacles until you can look yourself in the mirror and say, I did it.

Words by, Daniel (db Captures)