You’re never too old to learn

Every day, learning and training others is happening in this country. There are many places, including Back on Track, which actually offer up these services to adults. In my opinion, no matter how old you are, you should be acquiring new skills and fulfilling personal aspirations. We must realise that it has a long reaching effect. I believe that life is more interesting this way!

When I first arrived at Back on Track in 2016, I really felt that occupying my mind for a couple of days a week doing something I enjoyed (which was Health and Social Care) helped me to realise that I could achieve something in the future. My mind was excited with looking into job roles and thinking that that could be me one day, despite my problems with schizophrenia in the past. I also enjoyed the stimulating interaction which takes place in a classroom environment, and this is one of the reasons why I eventually decided to apply onto a teacher training course. Yet, my training on issues in those sessions such as safeguarding will not go amiss. I can use it in my work as a teacher and mental health services peer mentor. Finding a place in your life where you are encouraged to look at aspirations and possibilities and turn them into tangible achievements through study at whatever stage in your life is a real boost!

However, you should not be disheartened if you don’t grasp things straight away. Fairly recently, I read a book called “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth. She discusses the habits of successful (‘gritty’) people and refers to adopting a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. This means seeing your skills as something which can be developed and improved upon, instead of thinking that some people are just born clever and you can never be like them. I can see proof that this works in my own life because, with dedicated study, I went from getting approximately 40% to approximately 75% on the practice professional skills maths test I needed to pass to get onto a teacher training course. This also shows that, whatever age you are, your brain is still fluid enough to work however you want it to and that it is flexible because things can be learned and retained again!

As we mature, our learning can take on an additional importance: the ability to impart and influence people with the information that we have. As an aspiring teacher, I can see the wisdom in wanting to share what you find out with others. I want to equip others with the knowledge they need to become what they want to be and to open their eyes to further opportunity, just as others have done for me. This process of learning continues and, to make it more effective, we should aim to be at both the giving and the receiving end. Remember: it is never too late to learn!

Maysie Stott-Morrison