For the love of learning!
I love to learn! Anything, and everything! I have an inexhaustible appetite for learning new things. From new stitches in embroidery, to new jewellery techniques, and new crafts. But I also have what some may call “academic interests” as well.
Those of you who know me personally may already know that I left school at 15, and went straight into the workforce. This was my choice – I hated school, but I have always loved learning. It was only in later years that I finally realised that “school” and “learning” are not necessarily the same thing!
My “academic interests” have always been a great love for history, and for mythology. My favourite book as a child was the Greek and Roman myths by Robert Graves (I still have several copies) I was incredibly lucky to have parents that shared my love of reading, and learning, and they always encouraged me in my interests.
When I attended my local comprehensive school, I didn’t even take history as one of my GCSE options. This was due to the fact that their idea of history was World War 2!!!!! An important part of history of course, but not the type of history I wanted to learn. I wanted to know about the Ancient Egyptians, and the Aztecs, the Middle Ages, The Renaissance, and Regency times. But these did not form any part of the National Curriculum!
After leaving school I fell into an office job, and I have worked in offices ever since. Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly lucky to have been in full time work my whole adult life, and I have generally always enjoyed my employment (some more than others!), but my day to day work has never addressed my deep seated need to learn, to know, to discover!
Sadly, I have never been able to afford to go back in to education (university is faaaaaar too expensive!), but what I have discovered is night classes! Too many people turn their noses up at night classes! With certain people you get that slightly condescending air that somehow a night class is not “a proper course”. To these people I say Piffle!
Around 18 years ago I discovered the WEA (Workers Education Authority) and I have never looked back! The WEA holds night classes in most localities, and their courses cover a vast range of subjects. Over the years I have attended classes on Greek Mythology, Egyptian History, Persian History, the History of Art, and most recently early British History, starting from around 330AD, working our way through the Anglo Saxons, Viking Invasions, up to the time of Alfred the Great! For the last 3 or 4 years it has been more or less the same group of students, so it becomes a really lovely learning experience. This term we are veering off history slightly, and tomorrow night we start Norse Mythology! I cannot wait to get started learning more about Odin, Thor, Freya and Frigg to name but a few!
In the interests of keeping myself out of mischief, I have also signed up for a distance learning course. Distance learning is another wonderful option for those who (for many reasons) struggle to get out to a physical class, or want the comfort of learning at their own pace, in their own home.
The course I have signed up for is Cryptozoology! I looooove mythical beasts! It caught my eye online a little while ago, and I put it to the back of my mind, but a friend recently tagged me on Facebook with a link to the course (and it was on offer!!) so I felt it was fate really!
So why am I telling you all this??????????????
Really, it was just to get the point across to everyone that it is never, ever, too late to learn. There are so many options available nowadays, and you should not let anyone, or anything hold you back. I want to empower everyone to accept, and to believe, that just because they don’t have a University degree, that they are capable, intelligent people. That they can still learn what they want, when they want, and thrive while doing so.
So go forth and learn! (and let me know how you get on!)
To find out more about WEA courses in your area, go to https://www.wea.org.uk/