Old(er) dog, very new tricks

I’ve only just realised that I’ve not written anything on this blog since September – that seems like a very long time ago, but it’s not for any great reason other than lots of stuff has happened and I’ve just not had the urge to blog. I still write for the food blog, sporadically, but this one will always be my baby, the blog I started all those years ago when the world fell upside down and I didn’t think I would come out the right way up. Well, I may not be entirely the right way up, but I did come out and carry on, one foot in front of the other. Along the way, I’ve tried new things; relationships (some bad, some good), jobs (some fabulous, some I’d rather consign to the scrap heap) and educational pursuits (some easy, some hard, some that just weren’t meant to be). But here I am, a week away from turning 36(!), and I’ve spent the last 6 months researching, questioning, plotting and  more recently (the last 3 weeks) applying to go back to university in September to do my MSc in Facilities Management. Oh yeah, and I started a new job 7 months ago too, which may have been the kickstart to my research and desire for said course.

I wouldn’t be going back full time though, I’m too happy and comfortable in my now not-so-new job, back as a fully fledged Facilities Manager to give it up…and I think it would give my lovely boss a heart attack if I upped and left. No, I’m applying to go back on a part time, distance learning MSc, to be completed over 2 years while remaining at my desk and working at the same time. Mad you say? Possibly, but also I know I can do it. I did it before, not at the same level, but at the same intensity and with the same drive to succeed and break the chip on my shoulder that I’m just not academic enough to get a degree. The weird thing about it this time, is that I’ve got to sell it to them, that I’m Masters material, despite not getting my undergraduate degree and to do that is the most unBritish of things – selling yourself.

I’ve had this discussion with many people, both English and not and there does seem to be an overwhelming feeling that us Brits are not good at telling people what we are good at, especially when we need to do just that, in order to get ahead. Whether that’s on a CV or job application, in an interview (shudder) or in my case, on paper to explain how I’d be able to do the course when I’d not studied at that level before, singing my own strengths is hard. We don’t want to lie, because it will always be found out and we don’t want to appear boastful or arrogant or blasé about our achievements, but we also don’t want to hide our good bits. Some American friends have previously exclaimed that we should sing our strengths – who else will tell people of our successes if we don’t recognise them for ourselves? So for the last 2 days, I’ve huffed and sighed and frowned and nodded at the requirements and written, deleted, edited and rewritten close to 1000 words on how I can prove to the university admissions team that yes, they should let me in, that yes, I’d make an excellent addition to their student body and that yes, I would pass with a good grade and not bring down the achievement averages.

If I get in, or rather, when (I’m being positive and optimistic, can you tell?) it will be bloody hard work; long days and weekends with my head in a text book, case study and essay but I’m also really excited about the possibility of learning again, of studying and applying research to practical instance and building my skills. I love my job, I’m one of the lucky ones I think, I love the challenges and the bits that make be the very best I can be. I like dealing with incidents, although I swear they happen at the least convenient of moments and I know I’m lucky that I have a really lovely boss (and no, he doesn’t read this, so I’m saying it of my own free will) who supports and encourages me, even when there isn’t cake to sweeten the deal.

So, I’m keeping my fingers crossed, taking a deep breath and hitting send in the next few days before my deadline and hoping that I’m not too much of an old dog and they really believe I can be taught new tricks.

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