I have always viewed life as a series of stepping stones - not every stone will get me where I want to be, so I have to choose carefully which route I am going to take. Sometimes I need to go the long way round, veering off course for a short time, before coming back a little closer to the ultimate goal. This is when I can get disheartened and when my enthusiasm begins to wane a little bit, as I temporarily loose sight of my goal. I have to keep telling myself that even the smallest of steps will take me closer to the desired result.
Having passed my college course last autumn, last week I started night classes again, at a higher level. There was a mix up with the course fees and every student has had to pay an extra £150. This has knocked much of the enthusiasm right out of us, as the course was expensive enough to begin with, and to add insult to injury, we were not informed of the mix up until 24 hours before the first class! At that point I seriously considered telling them to stick it where light can't travel!
However, I paid up and attended the first class last week. I enjoy learning something new and it's good for me to leave my desk every now and then. There is a lot to do to achieve accreditation, but I'm trying not to think too far ahead or allow myself to become overwhelmed. Because it's an academic course there is all the usual pretension - the way each course requirement is presented as a matter of life and death, when in fact, it's just an essay or a presentation. If you've attended Uni you will know what I mean.
On this particular course I dislike the way basic common-sense is repackaged in psychobabble and presented to students as 'a very subtle skill which can't really be explained' - so I've paid £500 to learn something that cannot be explained? What exactly is the tutor being paid for then? Honestly, it makes my eyes roll and roll again. I'm hoping the course content really steps up over the next few weeks so that I feel like I am actually learning a new skill and that my intelligence is being stretched somewhat.
At the moment I feel like I am expected to accept the smoke and mirrors gig as value for money and not ask too many questions regarding the course structure and content, or the profession it represents - but that's not my style. I question everything. I am always going to look behind the curtain to see what's really going on. I pride myself on the fact that I am never afraid to ask the difficult questions...it's one of the things that makes me a successful writer.
On the other hand, it's nice that I'm finding the course work involved so easy. I'm staying positive and taking it as a compliment, rather than an insult, to my intelligence. I am keeping my main goal in mind as I track along the stepping stones to get there, class by class and lecture by lecture. I don't really think beyond what I need to do for this current week - that way I can concentrate only on what needs to be done, rather than getting anxious about future course requirements, clinical hours etc. For the moment, all I need do is turn up, pay attention and put the work in on time.
I haven't found returning to an academic course difficult or even particularly challenging, so if it is something you have been considering doing yourself, then I'd say go for it. Starting anything new or returning to education after a long break is always a little nerve-wracking, but the new year is the perfect time to make a fresh start. A positive action is certainly stronger than a half-hearted resolution. What stepping stones will you take this year?