Back To School Again

Is it ever to late to pursue your education???

I don’t know what you think, but I’m excited to share with you I started at university today. Yupp, aged 43 I took my big old self and started a part-time MSc in Human Resource Development & Consulting (with the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development [CIPD] Professional membership accreditation).

“What??! On top of your crazily busy job with all them hours and national travel?” I hear you say. “Yes!” I reply, with my StrengthStrength “and-what?” stare.

How can I have a vocation as a Strategic Human Development Professional – coaching & leading personal, professional & strategic organisational learning, if I’m not prepared to review what education I need to achieve my career aspirations and be prepared to undergo continuous professional development too? I don’t flinch at the incredible loss of idle-time, the stress from juggling a national senior management strategic role, not to mention the essays, exams, and Dissertation melt-downs. I refuse to give the pain an audience, because I have a goal to achieve, I’m determined to get there for all the ups and downs I’ll encounter and my experience has told me to:

Let the excitement of chasing & achieving my aspiration, fuel me!

Oh yes! That’s what I’m talking about today –  I’m getting on the Aspiration Express at Motivation Central! Toot! Toot!!!

OK I’m buzzing a lirrul-bit – ‘llow me nuh?!

Back to what I was saying though – my self-reflection this morning as I was straightening my lace-front-wig while getting dressed for my first day at university threw up a few things, namely:-

  • The associate who reacted to news about my upcoming study by exclaiming, “What? At Your age??!” Yes he said that. And the blarstid wretch has a PhD. So it’s for him but not for me. iCant share how I put him in his place. RUDE!!!
  • If I had a tenner for every time someone in the past few months has projected how stressful and demanding it will be to study again followed by offerings of “I’m so tired I can barely find time to do the things I have to do”. People please!  Folk have behaved in the past few months as if I confessed I was going to self-harm. I’m merely making a choice about the priorities in my life, is all – no biggie. Cleararff!!!
  • My last Masters degree programme severely let me down – non-caring attitude by the lecturers, a programme was being managed out…basically I got through it with very little tutelage & the programme eventually got cut, so I ended up with a Post Graduate Diploma as their “support” with the Dissertation for the group was abysmal.

All of this, yet I’m still inspired by learning, for professional and personal reasons. A bad learning experience and other people’s negativity won’t thwart me! Naw sah!!!

Why Are We So “Meh” About Adult Education In The UK?

I see the contrast between our attitudes towards adult education and the USA. We’ve got mindset issues! The currency of a college & post-graduate education is drummed in from kindergarden right through to the workplace, and is central to career progression. If you didn’t get a chance first time around, as an adult you’d not think twice about doing a job as well as going to school at night, regardless of age or background. It’s the cultural norm for an adult to be going to school while he/she works – at any age.

My Formative Schooling

As a Black young man growing up in Tottenham, North London, the seeds of negativity with education started from day-1. I was a very bright child – at the top of my subjects, but I wasn’t mentored or guided behaviourally towards the value, skills & mindset of gaining a good education – by teachers or at home. So as I went into my teens I found being a personality & winging it in class much easier. I slipped in grade expectation through secondary school and wasn’t encouraged to focus on getting results – just to behave so that they would allow me to stay in the building. I still have my school reports from junior school to secondary school, which consistently read:

“he has so much ability  but is wasting it being the class comedian”

Thanks. And thanks for offering me guidance on what to do instead – NOT. I was lead to believe that university and reputable jobs were for white rich people and had no idea that studying & good grades were the simple pathway to education & profession in England. It was clear that much wasnt expected of me career-wise and whilst i didn’t believe it, it steered me to focus on other means.

I left school and became very successful using my personality & pragmatic business skills to become a senior manager by the time I was 17. Pow!!!

Change Your Educational-Karma

When I decided to pursue my vocation in Human Development I started part time study alongside charity work and strategically taking stepping-stone jobs to get to the great position I’m in now professionally. I learned that as soon as I understood the value of work-related learning – it had a route to a known outcome and the effort involved didn’t seem to be “work”. I took to it like duck to water & excelled at it! Then came the complimentary professional learning & accreditations that became a springboard for my skills, knowledge & credibility. If only someone could have turned that educational light on for me in my early years…chuh!!!

Anyway, fast forward to 2012 and I’m the king of mapping out life-paths, career paths and driving strategic learning. SWITCH!!! I won’t settle for anything other than what I know I want to and can achieve – I wont go out like that…so, regardless of the obstacles, I’m going to be humble, suck it up, start this journey of learning and be damn happy about it. Because there’s a hard professional benefit and a fundamental personal aspirational goal that’s bigger than any other negative tired-ass, doom and gloom, nay-saying fart-foolishness tripe that anyone could whisper in my head. And I’m going to eventually get my PhD – so there!

What About You???

Are you settling in your career? Do you need something to boost your skills, raise your talent-pathway? How about  a little extra stimulation to develop a personal interest???

What professional or personal interest goal you’re toying with – first step is admitting that you want it. The next step is creating the steps, which are easier than you think! I’ll help you if I can-even if it’s to be a sounding board. Just don’t let negative people in your environment be the voice you hear in your head. See and listen to your dreams!

There are main high-level channels that you should consider:

  • What do you expect to get OUT of your learning???  What do you want to do? How will learning help you achieve what you want? e to dNothing is for certain but it’s essential to know how it will get you closer to what you want
  • What do you need to actually put IN??? How do you start from where you are, to get there? What’s the first step? (focus on accessing the first -1-2 steps, regardless of the length of the journey) What obstacles might stop you starting or from getting there?

Do this reflective thinking on a scrap of paper. Then review it from your gut – what strikes you the most? The benefit or the obstacles??? I’ll cut to the point – keep focused on the benefits!!! Too many people concentrate on the negatives! Be sure to surround yourself with people who keep the benefit in mind & who can help you to overcome the obstacles or challenges (a “support system”). Ask them for what you want if need be – doesn’t matter whether it’s your parents, partner, spouse, children, friends or your boss. Remember though, you stand at the helm – go for what you want. Once that’s fixed, anyone who doesn’t positively contribute to your support system should not be in your personal environment!!! People edit!!!

Think about it! Dream! Fire your shit up! Make a plan! Do it! Let me now in this post’s comments what the exercise throws up for you and what you’re going to do next…I’m all ears and would be happy to give support and a steer…

I wish I had the nous to do all this when I was a vivacious, national-health-glasses-wearing, knuckle-head, dump-school-going, 14-year old in Tottenham. Scrub that though – I can and I do put it all fully into effect, now.

SpiritedStrength = daily life driven by: • heart • realness • liberation • purpose • learning • happiness

One Comment

  1. Tamsen 16 September 2012 at 12:42 - Reply

    Walking the walk as always G. Respect x

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