I’ve spoken in past blogs about my desire to return to education and train to become a writer. It’s something that I’ve discovered I quite enjoy and, having had a few articles published, (See the HuffPost archive here for those.) I feel I’m quite good at. Now I’m not being complacent or cocky by saying that here. I know full well that I still have a lot to learn when it comes to writing skills and technique, but it’s something that I believe I can actually make a go of professionally – given the right training and lots of valuable work experience. I’m lucky then that I live just outside of Bath. A city that’s positively buzzing with publishers and creative outlets big and small.
And Bath is also where I will be attending my college courses. The first of which I am pleased to say I have been offered a place on this September.
But I almost didn’t seize the opportunty that was presented to me.
So in order to get onto the access course that I need to complete in order to apply for a place at University, I first need to re-sit either my English or Maths GCSEs that I barely scraped a grade D at 23 years ago. I decided to try and take on both to give me the best chance of success. If I get one but not the other then it doesn’t matter too much because I can still get a place on the access course. If I manage to pass both of them then great, that’s a bonus. I’m hedging my bets you could say.
Anyway, I was invited by the college to attend an assessment and interview session one evening last week. I was nervous about this having become somewhat of a recluse over the past couple of years but I still made the effort and got myself over there with plenty of time to spare.
But as soon as I walked through the main entrance of the building and into the vestibule, my anxiety went into overdrive.
It started with the feelings of panic. The sweating. The inability to breathe. The overall feeling of not being in control of anything in that particular moment. And as I saw the 30 or so other people all standing there waiting for the assessment, the negative mind talk kicked in. That voice that always rears its ugly head at the most unwelcome moments.
I was all ready to walk away and drive home.
But something, or rather someone made me stay and face what was ahead of me. That person was my wonderful partner Olivia.
Olivia said something at that moment which really resonated with me and made me stay to see the session through.
She said “The easy thing to do here would be to walk away. “
And she was right. It would have been easy to stand up and walk out and not see it through. But if I had done that I would have regretted that decision a million times over.
So I stayed. When they called us up as a group I trooped up the stairs to a classroom with the others and completed my assessment exams. I also stuck around afterwards to have a chat with who I hoped would become my future tutors. Because by that point my fears had all but disappeared and I felt almost confident about myself.
And it turns out it was worth it. Because not only was I offered a guarenteed place on the English course there and then, based on the article they asked me to write but yesterday afternoon I recieved an email confirming that I had passed the Maths exam and been given a place on that course as well!
So now I feel like I really have a purpose and a future. I can now try and enjoy my last few months off before getting stuck into my studies in September. It’s a great no longer feeling like I’m drifting aimlessly in life with nothing to look forward to and nothing to offer. Come September, I will be grasping life with both hands and concentrating on the future, not the past.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that fear can have both a positive and a negative effect on us as human beings. In my case, the fear of continuing how I am now for the rest of my life was a positive influence, outweighing the initial negative reaction and making me try something that I didn’t think I could do.
This autumn brings a new, exciting era to my life. And I can’t bloody wait!