I’m currently sat on my couch watching Minority Report and not at work. Today I sat my first exam since 1988 at the age of 16. Well sort of…
Last year I finally took a maths test I could pass so I have the equivalent of a GCSE but that doesn’t really count as I had a calculator the whole way through. And it wasn’t really taken in exam conditions. I also vaguely remember taking an exam in 1998. This is my fourth attempt to get a degree. I tried when my son was about two. I was accepted onto a hospitality management degree course at Leeds Met but dropped out before it started as he had started tests which would eventually lead to him being placed on the (low end of) the Autism spectrum.
Then I started a part time degree at Leeds University. The proviso for having the fees paid for that course meant that you had to be on benefits and caring for someone in some fashion. They paid for the first two years and any further study would then be paid for by yourself. I completed the first year which is where I sat another exam although for the life of me I cannot remember anything about it or the topics studied. In year two however I had the confidence to find myself a part time job. Sadly the hours worked meant I had signed off benefits and so I had to pay to continue the course. There was no way i could raise the money so bye bye to attempt number two.
Years passed and I had my first attempt at Open University. However my depression was too strong and I dropped out after only a few weeks. Which brings us to present day. By some miracle in June I will be exactly half way through. This year to keep the lower fees I am having to double up on modules to make sure I finish for 2017. It’s been a year of hell. Since the start in October I have had to apply for a new job, learn how to do the new job, found out my estranged father had died and lost an uncle! I’ve taken my first exam in a very long time today and i 11 weeks I have one for my other module
I’ve sometimes been so stressed I’ve wondered why I even started on this journey (for personal achievement) and often wanted to quit (this weekend gone was probably the worst) but I’m still here. I’m amazed at how far I’ve come and while it’s often hard, how much I can cope with and get through it. I have amazing friends who listen and who know how to take me out of myself. And despite the drama I know I’ll be continuing and in years time have the cap and gown just like my son will this year.