Going back into full time education…

…by Louise / from Glasgow / studying Divinity / 2nd Year

At the Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

My 6 year old son Ryan thought it was hilarious that his mummy was going to school, both of us packed our bag with pencil cases and snacks and we set off.

Going back into full time education at 40 with 2 children was a decision that the whole family had to be involved with. My husband Richard, a freelance writer was totally behind me and Ryan, who is enthusiastic about almost everything, promised to help me with my homework. My daughter Christina who is 4 took a bit more convincing, worried about who would tie her hair in plaits and take her to nursery.

Having worked in churches for most of my career I took the step of faith and applied to become a Church of Scotland Minister. Accepted by the Church of Scotland, I now had to get fully equipped for the job and so started at Edinburgh University to do a Bachelor in Divinity.

Freshers’ week was a very different experience the second time round  rather than hitting the student bars I had to stop off by the supermarket  on the way home after classes collecting milk, cereal and that night’s dinner.

My first experience of further education had been Stevenson College as a young 17 year old. The University of Edinburgh felt like a completely different world. My mature student life started with an overwhelming sense of privilege and honor to be at such a prestigious institution, with the sense of community communicated clearly from the offset, even to us oldies.

Early anxieties took a while to subside. I felt utterly terrified going into the library and was grateful for the care and support over the simplest of tasks such as taking out a book which felt unreasonably daunting. As a computer novice having to access so much information online was also exhausting and I felt envious of youthful students completely comfortable with a range of devices used with complete competency.

Friday morning tutorials started early at 9 and whilst Iarrived having got the kids up, dressed, fed and dropped off at school, the other students gathered looking sleepy wearing yesterday’s make up and a stamp of the club smudged on their hand, yet all of us were united in our appreciation that it was Friday!

Discussing the approach of exams one student said she was really nervous as she had taken a gap year and so it had been 18 months since her last exam. 18 months I thought, try 25 years!! No matter what age you are being a student is demanding, and while I juggle the pressures and demands of university and a young family, the benefits are I get to go home, curl up on the sofa, cuddle my 2 wonderful children and read the BFG before bed time.

Starting term 2 I am less terrified of the library and I can actually find my way round Learn pretty easily – the next challenge is teaching my husband how to do plaits.

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