For the last year or so I’ve been going back and forth about what I want to do with my future. I wanted to become a Certified Addiction Counselor, but I didn’t know if I had it in me to go back to school after 25 years, plus looking at the degree programs and what was involved seemed so overwhelming.
I went to school in England, where it was customary to leave at 16 years old. Optional 2 year college to study for ‘A’ levels came next. Once a student had their A levels if they wanted to go to University they could apply based on their results. I didn’t have a lot of drive when it came to studying and I didn’t have anyone at home pushing me to study or go to college. In fact, my parents never bothered to look at my report card, never attended parent evenings, and never asked me whether I should be doing homework or not. Taking full advantage of the ‘Tormented Teenager’ moniker, I decided if my parents didn’t give a shit about my education, why should I?
I left school at 16 and got a job in an office as a receptionist, since then I have worked in many different Administrative support roles such as Executive Assistant and Office Manager and most recently as an assistant to a Psychiatrist. The last year I have found myself wanting more, so I started looking at colleges and courses and what I needed to do to become an Addiction Counselor.
I thought I’d just apply to a college and off I’d go and start studying for my degree. Not so, I had to provide a school transcript from a school that says they no longer have my records. The other option was to get my exam results from the examination board that I took them with but after researching online I was told it could take months and after speaking to admissions in the college I wanted to attend, I knew that what I had wasn’t going to be enough anyway.
The lady in admissions told me that I could try Community College as they had open enrollment and I could do some of the classes needed for my degree there. When I had earned 30 credits at Community College I could transfer over to the degree program. Great! where do I sign up? Turns out I needed to do a Basic Skill Test to see where I’d be starting from academically. After I took the test I was told that I was up to college level in English and Reading but my Math needed work and I’d need to complete a remedial Math class. At first I was disappointed, but when I thought about it, I haven’t done Algebra in 25 years and it might not be a bad idea to study it now that I actually want to study. After all the testing was completed and I spoke with an Advisor, I enrolled in Math as well as 3 other subjects that are guaranteed transferable to my degree program.
When I first started this process, I had no idea what was involved in going back to school. I wanted to be able to do this my way, and quickly. I figured I’d just sign up for the course I wanted and hey presto I’d be on my way to being a Counselor! For me, this process has a lot of similarities with getting sober; I wanted to get sober but wanted to do it my way, the easier softer way with the least work involved on my part. I remember complaining to my Sponsor that I should be doing my 9th Step because all my friends were doing theirs (I hadn’t even finished my 4th Step). She patiently told me that I needed to trust that my Higher Power had me right where I needed to be and if I stayed the course and did the work in front of me now, that I would to reap the rewards later.
I’m not trying to cut corners anymore and I know now that Community College is right where I need to be and remedial Math is exactly what I need to be doing now if I am ever going to be the Counselor that I hope to be later.