Linda shares her story about how juggling life and learning can often be a tricky balance.

“Oh school is so hard!” This was my goddaughter’s reply when I asked her how her day had been. Looking back, I’m pretty sure that I would’ve given the same answer to the same question if asked it at the age of 10. Don’t get me wrong, I loved school (hated maths but that’s by the by) but I did find it hard. My peers saw me as the “swot” the “try hard” my teachers said I that would go far. 

The learning journey...

Navigating the traditional path of learning, getting the right GCSE’s to do A-Levels and then getting the right A-Levels to get onto the right university course was bumpy to say the least. Needless to say, I didn't get the predicted GCSE and A-Level grades. Too much pressure? Who knows. But despite me thinking it at the time, it wasn't the end of the world. After a year out after college, I rocked up at Nottingham Trent university (the first in my family to go to “uni ” – my mum and dad so proud). Despite being scary (first time living away from home) it was the first time where questioning the norm was encouraged, and taking responsibility for your own learning (and growing up) was expected. 

University and beyond...

I settled into a joint honors International Relations & Heritage Studies degree. I loved being able to look and read about the world through a different lens. I fell in love with Heritage Studies as we were introduced to the concept of museum interpretation, learning about the development of the country house and even the importance of the conservation of a cluster of very different buildings (see Avoncroft Museum of Buildings).

To cut a long story short, I graduated, this time with the expected grades, but as life gets in the way (buying a house, getting married, owning a cat - 2 cats even) the time to learn for learning sake, just because, gets eaten up.

Time to learn...

That’s why it is my resolution for 2018 to take some time each month to “learn. ” Not learning to pass an exam, or to report back and justify that it was really worth sending me on that course! Just learning! 

On the list so far is taking in a play at the Royal Exchange in Manchester, visiting the Chinese Warriors Exhibition in Liverpool and learning to sew! What’s on your list?

Has Linda's story inspired you to write your own? Submit your entry by the 28th February and you'll be in with a chance of winning a £50 Waterstones voucher (T&C's apply). See how you can get involved here.