Going back to school in later life was the best thing I ever did!

Have you ever felt so unfulfilled in your life?

So confused and bored – thinking there must be more?

This is exactly how I felt over ten years ago when I decided to bite the bullet and go back to school.

I had worked in my office job for over five years at the time, and I didn’t hate it by any measure of a doubt – (I’m still working there part time over ten years later), but something didn’t feel right. It didn’t click and make me feel like I had a purpose.

I looked around for new job but I had no idea where to start or what I even wanted to do.

I felt so confused and anxious.

I then decided that Instead of looking for a new job, I would look at courses and groups – and when the next college open evening came round, I signed up for an English A Level Course.

I decided on English, purely because I liked it in high school.

One thing I have learnt since going on my (back to school) journey – is to always look at what you are naturally good at or what energises you in life.

It doesn’t have to be a subject that you took back in school; it can be anything – i.e. cooking, exercise, singing, dancing, gardening, reading, writing etc.

What I found is that when you follow what you are naturally good at or what energises you – your destined path will start to unravel, and everything will start to become clear, and click into place.

For example; The English course taught me how much I loved writing and what I loved writing about!

I.e. Real life – being open and honest about subjects that touch so many of us (anxiety, depression, grief etc.).

That’s when it finally clicked – I want to be a Counsellor!

I had always been in touch with my emotions; I was so sensitive as a child (and still am).

I have always loved those deep conversations you have with your friends over a glass of wine or over dinner.

Signing up for an English Course made me feel like my future had goals and something to aim for.

I finally had a purpose!

Since that course, with the exception of taking a few years off to have a child, and moving to a different city, I have now completed my Level 3 Counselling Skills Certificate, Level 4 Therapeutic Counselling Diploma, and I have just signed up for my Level 5 Relationship Diploma at Relate in the New Year (I want to specialise in relationships).

Going into my office job now (for a few days a week to pay the bills) feels like a relaxing break from all the exciting but challenging roles I take on throughout the rest of my working week.

For example; I have a number of clients I see every week at the two charities I volunteer for, I have essays and articles that I love to write in my spare time, and not to mention holding down a family and some well needed me time!

Our true passion in life doesn’t have to be paid work.

I know my new passion will eventually turn into my new career (at some point in the near future), but for now, I just love all the new people I get to meet on a weekly basis.

Also all the new information and training I receive – (when you are truly interested and passionate about something – our mind is like a sponge), and most importantly what I have learnt about myself – and the new, happy person I have become.

There is nothing more fulfilling in life than going on a journey of self-discovery and taking off the mask to become your true self.

This starts with deciding on what YOU want to do with the rest of your life, and where YOUR true interests lie – Not following someone else dreams and aspirations that may have previously been mapped out or decided for you.

“Go towards what you are most scared of because this is where you will learn the most about yourself.”

We are never too old!

Going back to school is one of the best things you could possibly do with your life.

I cannot express enough to all the people out there thinking about it, but talk themselves out of it…

Face the Fear and do it anyway!

You won’t regret it!

In all the classes I have taken – the ages range from people in their 20’s to people in their 70’s.

In my opinion, going back to school in later life is so much better because you are now following your own mind and your own interests.  

Also it’s not just about starting a new career or getting that degree to impress other people; it’s about doing something for you and becoming a whole new person in the process.

Going back to school changes you. It makes you feel happy, because it increases your self-worth, and your self-esteem.

Also you are surrounded by likeminded people. People who inspire you and make you feel anything is possible.

Don’t worry too much if you are still somewhat confused on where to start – even if you sign up for a course that doesn’t necessarily serve your needs, it will lead you onto the path that does.

It will enable you to gain an understanding of where your true strengths lie, and when fear is holding you back.

For example; I hated interviews and I hated speaking in front of a group of people – so I just told myself I wasn’t good at these things and never pushed myself out of my comfort zone.

The thing is you never get good at these things by just running away; they just need practice and patience.

In college I pushed myself to talk in front of the class because I wanted to overcome this fear.

At first my voice would shake and I felt so embarrassed, but every week I continued to push myself and eventually my voice stopped shaking and I found I could talk to the class and actually enjoy keeping a room full of people entertained.

The same goes with interviews, I wasn’t bad at them at all, I just needed to prepare myself with the questions and practice for ten minutes every day leading up to interview date.

We never lose – we either win or we learn!

Many of us out there are afraid of meeting new people and what other people may think of us, but I promise you everyone in the classroom feels the same, and after a few classes, all those worries will disappear.

In fact if I remember rightly, I’m pretty sure my sister had to walk me to the door of my very first college class because I was so afraid of walking into a classroom full of strangers.

But many of those strangers have now become my lifelong friends.

If we don’t face our fears, we just stand still in life, and this is when we start to feel bored and unsatisfied.

Now is the time to push yourself out of your comfort zone and become a whole new you – i.e. Join a choir, start a dance class, or simply go back to school and take an evening class.

There is nothing stopping you, apart from the voices in your head.

This blog was written by Becky, student counsellor.

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog and any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of Relate Bradford.

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