I left school early with less qualifications than my parents and teachers expected, but not me. I never enjoyed the way I was taught at school. When my children were well established at school I went back to working full time and was given the opportunity, at the age of thirty, to finish my education.
First I went to night classes, then day release, then I studied using open learning and finally went back to evening classes. It was tough being a single mum, working full time and studying but unlike school I embraced this new way of learning and studied hard to gain both a BA and a professional qualification.
The learning paid off – I was promoted and able to secure a great job. But my love of learning never left me. While I was working in a busy finance job I began to write fiction. The first thing I did was sign up for creative writing classes at the nearby university. I was back on the night class assessment treadmill and I loved it because I was learning a new craft.
I spent the next ten or so years using that craft and fulfilled my search for knowledge through reading.
In 2015 my husband retired and he discovered Future Learn, a free, on line resource that offers courses on a huge range of subject. At the time I was writing a novel that involved nuclear energy and Future Learn were offering a four week course called The Science of Nuclear Energy run by The Open University. It was free, it was for novices, what had I to lose? I found the science difficult but not impossible and the biggest problem I had was finding WiFi to allow me to download the lessons while I was on holiday. It taught me all I needed to know to be confident with my novel’s subject matter.
I am still using Future Learn. A few months ago I completed a Introduction to Geology course because I’m a hiker and rocks fascinate me. This week I started the Podcasting for Storytelling Course. I am hoping the latest course will help me find a different audience for my stories.