For many going back to school is a major aspiration and once you achieve that there is a major feeling of achievement and fulfillment. Personally, I had long desired to go for a second masters degree but kept putting it off, so when I finally decided to go for it in my late 30s and with two children in tow it was daunting!Thankfully its all done and dusted and crossed off my to do list. I can thus totally relate with our first guest post of the year written by the indefatigable Azuka who writes about her recent educational pursuit. As you plan to start that course, register for that certification, apply for the PhD and pursue whatever self development dream here are a few things Azuka learnt.
So a while ago I started feeling like I needed to take a course to stimulate my brain. I had missed school and really wanted the classroom experience.
I initially started off wanting to go for a PhD but after several applications which by the way meant that several proposals were written, and several non-refundable $100 application fees paid (over a 2 year period) with only two getting through to interview stage I was disillusioned. Is it too much to ask for a fully paid PhD? I really didn’t have the kind of money needed to study abroad for 4 to 5 years.
Anyways, after I had been rejected several times, I gave up the dream altogether, but a job change got me interested in a new direction so I decided to take a short online course with the London School of Economics. Partly because I wanted to test my readiness for a PhD, should I decide to have a go at it again.
For some odd reason, I thought that it would be an easy ride, after all it is an online course and all participants were busy professionals. I assumed they would cut us some slack but boy was I wrong? It was 8 weeks of very serious work!
I had my moments of ‘ why did I ever start this? Nigerians would understand it better, ‘ who send me this message? Glad to say that I finished it, and finished it well too!
A few things I learnt:
- There is no end to self-development – my class had over 60 participants consisting of people from all over the world with diverse experiences and professionals in their own right. There were people in different stages of their careers, some young, some retired, some just wanting to learn something outside their field. It further reinforced the truth that no one is ever too old to learn. I would definitely take another course…and another.
- To succeed at anything you need to start – You need to start…then you need to push yourself. Many times the last thing I wanted to see was my laptop. I would rather watch a movie, lie around, and get lost in mindless social media activities than apply my brain to a serious mental task. With achieving any goal including education pursuits discipline is key.
- When you do start, most times you will be tempted to do an average work just to get by. After all, I only needed a score of 50% to be issued a certificate. However, you will soon realise that it doesn’t feel quite good to score low or to perform below your capabilities in anything and that it is quite rewarding and fulfilling to score very high (which you can achieve with a little stretch) it might hurt but ultimately you will feel better about yourself.
- Things that used to be easy and that you were really good at, if you stopped at any point can become really hard. The truth is that you will discover that you have regressed. I was very good with essays…or so I thought until I started my course. This course required us to write a 600 word essay for each module and we had 8 modules! Didn’t know 600 words could be so daunting! I scored very low in my first few essays but eventually got better and guess who scored a 100% in one of the essays towards the end? You guessed right!! And the school asked to use it as a model essay for the course! I feel very proud of myself ?.
Finally, 2018 is here so what are you going to do about those dreams? Those things you have been putting off? I just did one now -I did a write up for my Linkedin page , got published on Chiomah’s blog and now its on to the next!! Whoop! Whoop!
Azuka is a lawyer .Currently working in the international trade space with interest on globalisation and it’s impact on international trade. She is happily married to Ayodeji O’Deji.