Next week I will be stepping back in to shoes that are unfamiliar to me. Student shoes! I am one of those people who likes to write in the box marked ''Level of Education'': ''School of Life''.
It's not that I have no education at all. I do. I went through the normal British schooling system of 'Infants school', 'Primary' and 'Secondary' and then that's where things got a little merkier.
At the time of leaving secondary school, when I was just 15 (my birthday is in the school system cut-off period so I was the youngest person in my year) I wanted to be a police woman. This in mind, I signed up to a college in Lewes, East Sussex where I had to re-take my maths GCSE (I was and still am rubbish at maths) and along side that I had chosen to study Law, Sociology and Communications Studies A Levels. I loved the college, made some wonderful friends very quickly built good relationships with my teachers. My Sociology teacher and I got along particularly well and I was thrilled when he told my parents about my capability easily into the mind of others and be able to understand and predict their viewpoints on subjects. I felt understood for the first time in a long time and I was enjoying it. But. There's always a 'but' right! There was this one girl. I can't remember her name now (if only Facebook had existed back then, I'd probably still be in touch with a lot of those friends!) and she was really interesting. She came from a pretty well to do background I reckoned and she was incredibly mature for her age and had a really open quality about her. I used to love chatting to her and we'd often talk about our plans for the future. She would always have internships at the BBC in the holidays which was impressive to anyone in our group and her brother was an actor in some TV show that I had watched myself based on a stage school. At one point, whilst talking through our plans for the coming years I mentioned my love for film. The conversation got round to the point of her asking had I considered working in that field? The odd thing is that, before then, I don't think I had really considered that as a possibility. It seemed too unreachable. Too unreal. She had started something in motion though and over the next weeks it consumed me.
I am the kind of person that once I have something in my mind that I want to achieve, I truly set out to achieve it. From that moment on, that's really what I wanted to do. I finished re-doing my maths GCSE and would here and there turn up to classes but in the main I would sit in the college library watching films on the rental tv sets, often booking a room and encouraging others to parttake in watching some romance movie or whatever took my fancy at the time.
Following completing my first year and having passed my Maths exam I left college. It wasn't quite as simple as that though. Firstly, I had to see each of my teachers and get them to sign a piece of paper allowing me to quit their class. This was pretty humiliating, especially as I hadn't been turning up to most of their classes for quite a while! Worse then that though I had to tell my parents. I didn't for a long time. My dad was pretty strict so he had wanted me to give them my timetable for classes and so they knew when I should be at college. That said, I would get up like normal, get my bag together and leave the house pretending to go to college like normal. I have no idea what I did with all that spare time but I kept the fact that I'd quit hidden for a couple of months. It was so stressful and I got to the point that I actually was close to breaking down. I remember calling my Aunt in absolute tears and admitting to her what I was doing and asking her advice on how to break the news. I eventually did tell my parents and needless to say they were pretty disappointed. Very disappointed to tell the truth. I lived through many ''I'm disappointed in you'' and ''we feel let down'' discussions and eventually we came to a compromise that I would go back to college when the next year started but that I would change subjects.
When I do change, I like to change BIG so despite loving my old college, I wanted to start again at a completely new one. This time in Preston Park, near Brighton. My new classes were Photography, Media Studies and something else that I can't remember and once again, I made friends pretty easily and fell in to the routine. I enjoyed my classes, especially the photography ones and I was doing well. It wasn't quite right though. At one point, I managed to get a weekend job working at a big multiplex in Crawley and I loved it. I loved being able to watch films all the time, hanging out with the rest of the staff and I just found my home. The cinema saw my enthusiasm and kept offering me more and more hours. I started to skip college to work instead and I enjoyed the independence of having a bit more income and of feeling a real part of a community. The cinema had only been open 6 months or so before I joined and so there was a real atmosphere among the staff of it being ''our cinema''. I ended up doing so many hours at the cinema that I was there more then at college and once again I was getting up early, pretending to be going to college but actually hanging around before heading in to work for a 12 hour shift.
That was pretty much the end of my educational life. It's not that I am anti education. I'm not. I also didn't do too badly. I am not some super genius, far from it, but when I put my mind to something I reckon I could actually do pretty well. I just wanted to work. I love to work. I loved to work even in my teenage years. I had my first job at 14 (working Sunday mornings at an old people's home) and I just enjoyed working. Being part of a team. Earning my own wage and being able to save up for something with it.
I had a brief time at Brighton Film School taking an evening course, but other then that I didn't step through classroom doors until my Integration Course at Berlitz around 3 years ago. As of Tuesday I will be heading back into education for a brief period, starting a 6 month German course aimed at getting me up to C1 level German which is pretty much fluent. I can't wait. It's going to be full on, with 5 hour days, 5 days a week of language learning but it's really what I need to get my grammar up to scratch.
I'll let you know how I get on!
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