Manchester, England
paul@borderlinebear.com

Surely I’m too old for college?

Surely I’m too old for college?

collegeLiverpool

So it was 2012 at this point. My time at the psychiatric unit and hostel was over and I had moved into my flat and life was really simple. I had little money from the benefits system and I did want to eventually get back to work. I was still under the early intervention in psychosis team but my care plan was on track and in he-insight I was actually doing pretty well.

I would spend a lot of time with my nan at this point and she would give me good ‘solid’ advice (and some great meals!). We would talk about working and the possibility of going back to college. I was really dead set against the idea of going to college. While I was pretty academic in high school and always considered myself intelligent in someway the idea of going back to education was something I was not keen on. I did however always want to work in computers, so i would search the internet looking for roles in IT and what was required to get one of these rolls. A certification or education was really needed to get these roles. At the time I was still on probation for my earlier charge of ‘possession with intent to supply a class C substance’. This was a big hindrance and I knew this would effect me getting a job! At this point I realized I had to go to college. I really wanted to go to university but as everything in life you have to walk before you can run. The open day was hectic, it was busy and uncomfortable for me. I really felt pressured and very paranoid but muscled through.

I got onto a course (BTEC Level 3 in IT), I was so proud and so was my nan! She knew even back then it was the start of something great for me but other people around me thought I would go back to the old me. Gangster, drug dealing and a quick buck! It was at this point in my life I felt I had something to prove. I proved the people who didn’t believe in my right for all that time and I know I was going to prove to the people who did believe in me right and the others wrong. It was exciting and intermediating all at the same time!

I don’t really think its relevant to go much into college life, I was surrounded by 16 year olds (being 30 at the time) and it was a bit of a drag. I really applied myself however and got a double distinction * in my studies. Getting this grade give me a massive boost in confidence but also ability. It actually made me feel like I couldn’t wait for the next one!

During my time at college I met my partner. She was a teacher in Manchester and we met via mutual friends. It seemed like everything was going so well and I hadn’t managed to sabotage my own success ………just yet! It was probably at this point I knew in my heart I would do my nan and dad proud of me and the nay sayers wrong!

After completing the BTEC, I went on to achieve a distinction in an HNC in computing. I posted a picture below ๐Ÿ™‚ Evidence of success is always a positive way to prove your point!

Education

I suppose I just wanted to summarise the difficulties I faced when attending college

  • It was difficult learning and being with younger (a lot younger) students. While they were cool it was always intimidating and you lack that connection. I never really made any friends from this point.
  • Traveling – Not having my driving licence was real tough. Getting the bus everywhere really was difficult. Having a phobia of germs and anxiety over cramped situations made bus rides EXTREMELY difficult.
  • Medication – Being on high amounts of ‘calming’ and ‘sedative’ type medication was really difficult. Getting up early feeling drowsy and generally rough made getting motivated not only difficult but near impossible.
  • Being different – With a past as chequered and different as mine it was really difficult to connect and understand other people. I would always sort of feel out the loop, however the main goal did keep me on track. I also loved the course so that was great!

My suggestion to anyone in a similar position is this…..You cant harm yourself any further from pushing yourself. If you are ready for the challenge you are ready…..if you’re not then you’re not. Don’t put to much pressure on yourself and make sure you choose something that you’re passionate about. The rebirth and reinvention of yourself can be exciting and lead to greatness.