Starting over.

I’m a student again. At the age of 34½ I am heading back to university studying “Natural Sciences”.

I sit here, 16 years on from when I first made an ill-fated attempt at higher education (three years, one certificate, and catastrophic personal problems) embarking on what I hope will be rather more successful journey than my last.

Returning to student-hood at the age of 34 is daunting, and it feels very strange. I am both excited and terrified; eager to begin and mindful of the commitment I am making, and the personal risks I am taking. For a myriad of reasons, my first sojourn into university life resulted in what I can only describe as a slow-motion mental breakdown. It was not the university’s fault, particularly, it was simply one of those things. I would be telling an untruth, though, if I didn’t admit to a concern about the pressure this course could put me under, and the effect that might have.

And so, I want to take this moment to make three promises. These aren’t promises to the university, other students, or my tutor; these are promises to myself:

Even if all goes well, it will be six years from now before I can look back and say, “I have achieved what I set out to, graduated with a degree.” There will be challenges, just as life always has ups and downs. In taking these first few steps, however, I have confidence that I can achieve what I am aiming for.