I was not encouraged to go on to Higher Education, I think my father felt it wasn’t really for women – get a nice civilized diploma in shorthand and typing there’s a good girl. Mostly women were expected to get married, live in a semi and have 2.4 children. That’s just how it was.
I can’t say I have had much in the way of encouragement from my mother or sibling, and I can see why I was in the dark - “What on earth do you want to do that for, I mean really what do you need with further education at your age, it’s not as if anyone will want to employ you even if you do succeed, you will be too old” and “well I suppose you know what you are doing but what does your husband say?” I think my reply was along the lines of thanks for the encouragement, I won’t bother to let you know when my graduation is, and I neither want nor need my husband’s approval. I am doing this for me.
So I went for it, and after a lengthy application and selection process finally the day came when I would learn my fate. As soon as I set foot through the door the tutor said, “don’t worry, you’re most definitely in.” I could have cried – in fact I did but managed to wait until I was safely in my car first.
Armed with my new leather bracelet tied round my wrist in trendy student fashion that cost me all of 99 cents from a Chinese Emporium in Spain, and my new (second hand from a friend) Converse All Star Chuck Taylor baseball boots, off I toddled for my first lesson last week. Sorry I mean lecture, I must get used to this, I am not at school anymore!
What complete blissful chaotic bedlam ensued for the next two days, whilst bums on seats were counted and reallocated, some lectures were under subscribed, some over. ‘Can you swap your sociology slot?’ ‘No, it clashes with history.’ ‘Can you please arrive on time?’ ‘Well my timetable says its 9.30 start. Oh that’s only on a Wednesdays?’ ‘Please go to registration, please go to student services.’ ‘You have to enroll to be able to use the library and the computers.’ ‘Yes I know but we can only do it during tutorial tomorrow, remember?’ ‘Get your picture taken at the reception desk.’ ‘Where’s that, I haven’t had a tour of the facilities. I only know where the toilet is and I’ve been there 3 times already!’ ‘Go to Exam and Information to get your form for Council Tax reduction.’ ‘Go back to Student Services to fill in a disclaimer for possible reduction in course fees’ ...Manic!
I have been there a week now. I am completely shattered and totally and utterly absorbed with it all and wish I had done it years ago.