If you are thinking about going back into education, when considering the benefits it might give you, remember to consider that it will improve your self-esteem. Whatever subject you decide to study, you will learn far more than the skills and knowledge listed in the curriculum.
Many adults have difficulty with reading, writing and arithmetic, finding find their lack of these skills embarrassing. There may be many reasons why they did not acquire these skills during childhood, none of which is the individual’s fault, but people, having difficulty with these skills, blame themselves, thinking they are stupid. This is not the case, people, who cannot read or write, for example, must think laterally and have excellent memories, merely to navigate themselves around our increasingly complex world and survive. This shows considerable intellectual ability.
Many adults feel that they could have done better at school. This regret can run deep for years. It can make them feel that they cannot apply for certain jobs or that all their friends are cleverer than they are and this makes them feel shy and unsure at work and at home.
It is scary going back to school as an adult. You think that you will be the oldest in a class of bright young things, you are too old to learn, you will be slow to learn and hold other people back, that you cannot fit your studies around work and responsibilities, or that college is like school or the many other worries that adult learners have. You might worry about how you will finance your studies. Many of these worries are groundless myths.
Colleges, universities, and other learning establishments understand that mature students have very different lives to more traditional students. Many such institutions run part time or distance courses so that adult students can fit their studies into their lives. Most university and college tutors now understand that mature students have difficulties that younger students do not and are very adept at making student life much easier for them. You are unlikely to be the oldest student in the class, so many adult students are returning to learn. Learning institutions welcome adult students wholeheartedly. College is nothing like school, and no one will think that you are holding the class back.
If you need help with literacy or numeracy, there is no need whatsoever to be embarrassed, many adults need such help. The Literacy Trust in the UK and Pro-literacy in the USA are good places to begin, . In the United Kingdom, there are many places that you can contact many organizations, try your local library, council, or adult education college, to find a local adult literacy or numeracy class. In other countries, your country’s Government internet site may have information or links to necessary information. Governments in most countries are very anxious to have a literate, numerate workforce with the necessary computer skills to meet the challenges of the twenty first century. You can also in the United Kingdom and some other countries, learn basic computer skills.
Chrissie Maher, now a campaigner for The Plain English Campaign, a worldwide campaign to encourage governments and companies to stop using confusing language, only learned to read, when her first employer paid the fees for her to attend night school, now she campaigns for plain language and literacy help for adults. Many adults found that adult literacy classes improved their lives out of all recognition.
If you are interested in gaining the qualifications that you missed out at school, there are many ways that you can do so. You can study by post, on the internet, or you can go to study at a university or college. If the qualification that you want to get is to do with your job, your employer may pay for your studies, many learning institutions have bursaries and scholarships, some especially for mature students, and there may be other funding sources in some subjects
Your studies will teach you much and you will have the skills that you will learn during the course, but adult students gain far more from study. Teaching at adult level is very different. You will learn so much about all sorts of things. X went to university to study for a degree part time. She learned many things not written in the course outlines for the two subjects she studied. How to use a library properly, give a presentation, how to present information, but most of all, X learned that she was neither too old nor too stupid to learn, and that her opinions were valid and mattered, but most of all she learned to be confident in her own ability and skill. When caring and work responsibilities meant that she could not do one course module, the faculty head and her tutor allowed her to do a supervised extended essay for her semester’s work. When she graduated, aged 47 she was proud of her degree, her hard work and her accomplishment in gaining it. X’s degree gave her the confidence to do so many things after graduation that she would not have dared to do before studying. By the way, when X graduated the oldest person graduating from the university was eighty-six years old.
X went on to do many things that she would not have dared do before taking her degree. What she learned, by doing so, continues to enhance her life and her confidence.
Your studies will give you confidence and make you proud of yourself. You will have skills and confidence and these will take you far, into a new job or a new career. Adult education can take you far, but it will certainly improve your self-esteem, your life and your career.