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Back to School!

Jessica is returning to studying for the first time in 20 years. Eek!

I couldn’t sleep very well last night and, despite it being a Saturday, I ended up giving up on sleep and getting up shortly after 6.00am. I’ve had quite a lot of nights where I’ve struggled with sleep over the last 18 months or so – mainly due to being unable to switch off from a heavy workload – but last night/this morning, the struggle was for a different reason. It was because I’m going back to school and I’m what my 10-year-old daughter would call nervous-cited!

Okay, so it’s not officially “school”. I have enrolled with The Open University to complete a Masters in Creative Writing and the course officially started today. Eek! How exciting! 

I haven’t formally studied for over 20 years so this is a huge thing for me and, although I did get a 2:i in my undergraduate degree, I found university really, really, REALLY hard and, believe me, the 2:i was only achieved through very hard work and, even then, it was a scrape by 1%! I’m therefore extremely nervous as to whether I have the academic ability to do a Masters. Or the time to fit it in around the day job, writing, and family. Double eek!

So I am definitely extremely nervous-cited! Good word, isn’t it?

Time is definitely going to be a biggie for me and there’s absolutely no way I can fit in studies around my current commitments so I’m getting the word load on my day job reduced by a quarter which should help. I’m trying not to think about the fact that this means I’ll be reducing my income by a quarter. Boo! I’m also stepping down from my perch as Brown Owl. I’ve led a Brownie pack for the past 7.5 years and, although I’ve loved it, I can’t do everything. I’m currently getting some new leaders up to speed to take over after half term, with me sticking around in a supportive capacity until Christmas. This will gain be back two hours every Monday evening but probably another two hours a week behind the scenes.

My Gorgeous New NotepadWith all of this apprehension, why am I doing it? Firstly, I would like to explore how to improve my writing. Everything I’ve written so far has come from a combination of self-help books and through being a reader. I’m sure I have loads more to learn so this is a great way to do so. Secondly, it’s a challenge. As I said, I struggled at university but I feel ready to embrace that challenge again now. I think my day job will help because I mark academic assignments and now understand how to structure and reference properly; something which I think held me back at university because nobody ever told me about this back then! Thirdly, I would like to teach creative writing in the future, using my day job skills as a trainer. Although this isn’t a criteria for teaching and there are loads of superb creative writing teachers who don’t have a Masters, I would personally feel more credible to do this with a writing qualification behind me.

I’ve logged on this morning and introduced myself to my fellow students and, in true me style, have written an essay about it! Nobody else has logged on yet but I look forward to ‘meeting’ them later. I’ve also purchased an absolutely stunning new notepad especially for the occasion. It would be rude not to!

I’ll update my blog from time to time with details of how it’s going. Have a great weekend.

Jessica xx

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