… Try, try again

It’s almost a year ago now that I found out I’d been accepted on a Masters degree at Stockholm University. I realise now that it was desperation that led me to do it, and so when the deadline came for final registrations, I chickened out.

I had a struggle last year with my sanity – one I’ve only just managed to get to grips with – so at the time I was due to complete registration for the course I decided that I couldn’t cope with trying to get myself well again AND do all the study for the course (which, as it turns out was actually full-time, although I didn’t realise that at the time I signed up for it), so I backed out thinking it was the better decision.

Towards the end of the year, unfettered by the events of the spring and following some really uplifting conversations with a good friend from work, I made enquiries about an adult teacher training course. It fit. Everything I’d done in my new job, all of my natural interests, everything just fit. So I’m now try, try, trying again and thanks to student finance, all being well I’ll graduate summer 2017 as a qualified teacher of young people and adults.

The plan I made for myself way-back-when – the MA at Durham, the research, the PhD – is drifting into focus again. I was so devastated when it all fell to pieces but I couldn’t bring myself to sweep the remains away so I clung onto them in the hope that one day I might be able to figure out a way to piece them back together. I was right. I can see now that my plan was good and is worth salvaging. I’ve had to change parts of it, obviously, but the bones of it remain. The new – and slightly improved – high level plan is:

  1. PGCE YP & Adults – completes summer 2017
  2. January 2017 submit speculative proposal for PhD funding (shy bairns get nowt!)
  3. In the event of #2 being unsuccessful, register for MA Education as the continuation of #1 (1 further year)
  4. January 2018 submit proposal for PhD funding again
  5. As a fall-back, I’ll be a qualified teacher able to teach in colleges or at a push, secondary schools

The low level plan (while I’m still studying for the PGCE) is:

  1. Volunteer as Peer Reviewer for the Ncl College academic journal ‘Seven Bridges’
  2. Attend HE Conference at college + any other conferences possible / affordable
  3. Conduct independent research around LLL in the North East – journal articles / conference presenations off the back of this
  4. Apply for Ncl College Student Fellowship in October / Editor of Seven Bridges

I think I feel better for having a new plan. I think. I’m trying not to get carried away with myself again, because in the past that has only led to misery and me feeling incredibly foolish. But it’s hard not to get carried away when you get that spark of excitement again. At least I know that money can’t screw up the PGCE for me, and by the time I get round to doing the full MA (if high-level plan item 2 doesn’t come off) student finance will be available for postgraduate education too so there shouldn’t be another barrier to me finishing my masters.

I need to make this work. It somehow feels like my last chance and I’m already far older than I wanted to be by the time I continued my education. But then that’s me to a tee. I’m always the last to the party, but when I get there I damn well try to make the most of it.



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