When I first told my husband I was considering starting a degree, was during a moment of total and utter frustration with my situation as a mother of two, soon to hand in my resignation because of the astronomical cost of childcare. A job that had been good to me and allowed me to come back to reduced hours after my first baby. It was one of those ugly cries where you don’t know what are tears and what is snot streaming down your face any longer. I remember sobbing and listing all the sacrifices I had made for this family. My body, my life, my career, any financial freedom. My sanity. After I had stopped sobbing and used up a whole packet of Kleenex I tentatively mention going back to school. “And so you should” he said.
I will admit I have browsed the Open University website many times, even before the kids, while I was still working full time. On my lunch break I would have a look at all the different degrees and hover over the link to the psychology course. Every time, I brushed off the thought, convincing myself I would never be able to keep up with anything academic.
“You will be great!” he said. He always has my back, and I love him for that. And I believe him because he is honest, and he knows me better than anyone. Sometimes better than I do!
A few days after this minor breakdown we were all sitting in the car, probably on our way to visit the in-laws, and an advert for the OU came on the radio. We exchanged a quick glance and burst out laughing. I requested the paperwork after that.
I am now almost two years into my six year journey towards a psychology degree, and do you know what I have learnt so far?
- I am not stupid. I have spent a large portion of my life thinking this, and I’m almost embarrassed to admit this has been a complex since I was a teenager. Where does it come from? Not entirely sure (perhaps it will become hilariously obvious when I’m further into my degree) but just thinking about my maths teacher in secondary school makes my blood pressure rise immediately.
- I can actually manage my time. I have more self discipline than I ever knew.
- I feel a constant sense of achievement. Like, I’m doing this while being a full time parent. That is a big deal, and it’s totally fine to feel this way!
- I have gained another level to my sense of purpose.
- I can keep up with academic material, and conversation! This kind of ties in with point 1.
- Even though it is HARD and the struggle is REAL, I truly enjoy it.