So, I have been thinking about my education lately. As you may be aware I did a Foundation Year at Hull University in Computer Science, but things got in the way of that (my mentalism, moving in with Danni, etc). That was 3 academic years ago now and I haven’t done anything at all in the way of education since. This is also for a variety of reasons, but mainly due to two: the amount of care Danni needs and the fact that I require too much support to be able to do it alone.
Danni has been the worst she has been for a while. She lost control of her limbs totally last night and needed to be carried up the stairs and into the flat. I had to do this alone as there was no-one else to do it. My role as a carer is taking more and more responsibility, and of course this means I need to spend more and more time doing it. This means I would have even less time to pursue education. This is an issue, since the caring has led to me missing 2 years already and is about to make me miss a third.
The support thing is still something I am coming to terms with. I was described as bright (if a little lazy with homework and lacking in organisation) at school. When I was in Year 7 the school management was saying how I was a sure University student down the line. Yet here I am, stagnating and needing a push to get back onto the education ladder. How did this happen? Just how did I come to be so behind my peers, who have now completed their degrees and in some cases Masters.
The answer is actually remarkably simple: I didn’t realise how much support I actually need. I attempted to go it alone, as I always have. It served me well up until my GCSEs, then my grades started slipping. I was warned it would happen if I didn’t get homework and coursework in, yet I thought I was just being a bit lazy and not doing it because I couldn’t be bothered. Those thoughts are still there, but I am sure that if I had someone there to support me I wouldn’t have had as many issues with school and Sixth Form.
So I came out of Sixth Form with 2 full A Levels, one of them in General Studies which doesn’t really count. What did I do when I applied to Uni? Claimed it was stress. I didn’t have a damn clue why I didn’t do my work at Sixth Form, but I had to fob off the interviewer somehow. So, stress it was. No support was asked for, and I barely passed the foundation year in a subject which is, by far, my strongest.
Oops, I’m rambling off topic. Where was I? Yes, support. So, given support I reckon I could have a fair crack at Uni again once I’ve eased back into education. So, how do I ease back in? Step back a level. Easier said than done. I inquired about doing A Level Maths. The response was that I was too old. The college obviously doesn’t want the business…
So I’m stuck again. I am left with one choice, really: Open University. This would, obviously, require support (which I don’t have) and more structure than I can reasonably ask for in a day. Looking after Danni is hard work, yanno? One hurdle after another, I just can’t win.
The reason for the requiring support was alien to me until Danni explained it. She told me that she has noticed I seem to have issues with Executive Functioning. It doesn’t just affect education in my case, but seemingly all parts of my life. Housework, education, going to the shops…you name it, I have trouble motivating myself to do it. And then comes the anxiety that I get around doing things that I cannot see a logical process for. These things that I should find easy, like tidying the living room or deciding what I want to eat are incredibly difficult. This, of course, applies to education too, so starting on work is difficult. I get sidetracked and find it hard to start. However, when I get into it, there is no stopping me.
So, a couple of things need to happen for me to seriously consider going back into education. I will need proper support, whether it be from a mentor from the place of education or a support worker from outside it. I will need help for my caring role with Danni being the worst she has been in a while (more help than I am getting now, yeah, good luck with that). I will need time. Time to get myself back into gear and into an education mindset, so maybe a part time course would be better than a full time one. And, most of all, really, I need to get my autism assessment sorted (still no word on that, by the way) so I can more reliably explain what my needs are to people who do not believe that someone without a diagnosis can have the issues I do.
So, a rambly post on education. I hope you could make more sense of it than I could. Sheesh, my writing is getting worse and worse these days.