Baby Steps Into Mature Adult Learning

Today is another day in which the excitement in me is quietly bubbling over. 

I WANT TO KEEP THIS FEELING! I don’t want to lose it but equally I am scared of trying to hold onto it! 

Let me explain!

I have spoken about it somewhat already in a recent post titled The ‘Off Topic’ Uni Student, explaining that I have enrolled to study at the Open University for a diploma in Higher Education in English. 

The excitement is all wrapped up in the anticipation of actually having my part-time fee grant application with SASS approved. I am trying to keep an optimistic view. That the grant approval is a given and that I WILL be studying next year. Such a positive view I am sticking to means I have already taken other steps in getting myself into the mindset of being a student. Purchasing the set books required for my course module, applying for a library card giving me SCONUL access to other university libraries, checking the OU StudentHome site daily. Familiarising myself with the OU website and where things are and just keeping myself primed and enthusiastic to make that start. 

Today my library card arrived. I have been to the University of Glasgow website this morning and was looking around the site for information on the university’s library and what I’d need to do for SCONUL access. Each university has its own criteria for SCONUL access. Disappointingly all I can see on UofG’s page about SCONUL access is their own students gaining access to other university libraries. No info on what is required of outside students wanting UofG library access. I think I will just have to visit the library itself one day soon. Hopefully in the next few days. It will also give me an excuse to see the Cloisters all lit up and pretty.

The main library is opposite the Huntarian and has TWELVE FLOORS! Yes. TWELVE! I think the biggest library I have been in up til now has had…maybe five? I think Luton’s central library has four floors, if memory serves me? And the main Liverpool library (back in Sydney – the nearest major “city” to where we lived was called Liverpool) had three, possibly four floors also. Most libraries I have been in have only had a single floor. I think the Mitchell Library only has two floors (correct me if I am wrong, Glaswegians)?

So, I am looking at the floor plan this morning and I am trying my best not to just want to dance about like a loon and go nuts! Lol. My excitement is palpable – but I need to keep it all measured and in check. I am so scared of being this excited and hyped and then it all disappears because SASS don’t approve my part-time fee grant application. These 28 days are going to feel sssoooo long!

Of course I KNOW I won’t have any need to use ALL of the UofG’s library services. I won’t be needing to visit all twelve floors of the main library! But it won’t stop me from having a keek at all the floors the first time I visit.

And, as a student from a different university, I can get access to the UofG’s other library branches – which includes the Library Research Annexe, which is only just down the road on Saracen Street! I can’t believe it is so nearby! It could potentially be an incredible resource for me as it holds microfilm and newspapers. Oh my days! 

Anyway, this is a rambling kind of “days of a uni student” post. I still can’t even get my head around referring to myself as a “university student” right now. It just sounds like pish! Lol

I’m trying to stop myself from running before I can walk. I’m scared that all this enthusiasm will actually put the mockers on it, instead of putting me in good stead to start my course. 

Certain aspects are still making me nervous. I mean, I did this tiny exercise on the OU site yesterday in which you had to give personal examples of three encounters you’d had with the arts and humanities in the past week and what made those encounters interesting to you – and my mind just went blank! I could come up with examples of encounters easily enough, but elaborating on what made those encounters interesting and not wanting to just answer “because” I found quite difficult. I am feeling daunted by it all too. And I am worried about if I will find my tutor someone I’ll get along with and be easy to reach out to. But of course all of that is all running before I can walk. But it’s positive to project ahead, right?

P.S. One day soon this blog MAY actually have some Simple Minds news to talk about!

Better Write? (Off Topic Yet Somehow Relevant)

When does a hobby become a career? 

Today I have been looking at the University of Strathclyde site, looking at courses – and all of it, every single bit of it feels so out of reach!

I looked at undergrad courses. Pipe dreams! I looked at the Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences. I looked at what was required for entry (yikes!), fees, etc. That one really is shooting for the moon!

The next one I looked at is English and Creative Writing & Journalism, Media and Communication. That needed quite a level of education as well. But could I achieve the “baby steps” it would take to get there? 

Yesterday I was at the site looking at the Centre for Lifelong Learning. There are online courses in Creative Writing. Starting at the beginner “Kindling” stage, progressing to the “Feeding the Flame” stage, then on to “Ablaze”, then finally “Inferno”. Each course is online and lasts 10 weeks. But the progressive classes don’t seem to follow on in stages through the year, so this would be year by year. It’s a drawn out process. If I was to enrol in the “Kindling” course and really enjoyed it and gained something from it, I know I’d just want to move on and on. Not wait until the next year, then the next year and the next.

Adult learning terrifies me now. It’s been a long time since I stepped into anything like this. Especially in a way like this, that requires study – with your brain engaged! The last adult education course I did was a photography course and that was over 15 years ago now.

I cried this morning looking at the course. Wanting to take the plunge but feeling no confidence in my ability to do it well at all. The whole social side of it terrifies the life out of me! Even in an online way. Talking with other students via Zoom style meetings. I’ve tried distance learning in the past (pre-Internet) and I didn’t do very well at it. 

The tears were because…it just feels so massive already! It should be an exciting prospect and fun! But to me it feels like this is my last chance to try and DO SOMETHING – and if I fail? I feel defeated before I have even begun!

There’s a testimony of the course from a lady named Mary Elizabeth Wylie. She’s 88 years old and has just published her first book. She started the Creative Writing course at 75. Seventy-Five! I should feel inspired by her story, but it still just sounds like a glorified hobby.

It just feels like folly. Another one of my dreams that’ll go nowhere. How do I justify spending out “hunners” of pounds for each of these short courses? For it then to be 2025 and I am enrolled in a full-on university degree in English and Creative Writing & Journalism, Media and Communication. And then that is “hunners” times ten!

To feel able to string some words together on paper is a vastly different thing to where all this could go. And it is PETRIFYING! I feel almost physically sick at the prospect of it. Study. Focus. Deadlines. Submitting work to be scrutinised and graded. 

Currently I am a happy but disillusioned amatuer. Do I want to be a professional? Perhaps turned careerist? 

Aspects of the course that I hope I’d gain from it are appealing. To feel much more competent AND confident in my writing would be fabulous. To potentially feel more adept at working to a deadline and handling the pressure that brings. 

I am in “serious pondering” mode. I am considering it. And I wish the idea of the leap didn’t make me feel so sick to my stomach. I should be filled with enthusiasm! But, perhaps it is as David Bowie suggested?