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The Learning Institute

The Learning Institute

#WednesdayWisdom from Anna, a current TLI student

Anna tells us about her experience as a student on the Foundation Degree in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. 

Year of graduation: 2017 

Tell us a bit about what you are doing now

Currently I am working in a state middle school. My timetable is split between working in class and undertaking pastoral work 1:1.  I also run an intervention group for a group of children identified as struggling to identify emotions. 

How did you find the process of returning to education/study? 

I left school and was working at 17, so never undertook A levels. I studied for a level 3 NVQ some years ago.  My current SENCO saw an advertisement for the TLI course and signposted me to it.  I never believed that I could do it…but here I am! It is a challenge, but the course content has been so interesting and I have learnt so much about an area I am passionate about.  My family have been really supportive in encouraging me and so has everybody at TLI. 

How has your life changed since you started the degree? 

I graduate this year… my decision is whether to undertake the third year top up. However, my practice has changed and I am more confident in the work I undertake with children.  I am also more likely to speak up about issues relating to my practice 

What do you enjoy most about studying for your degree? 

I have loved gaining a deeper understanding of child and adolescent mental health. The lecturers have personal experiences which have really helped to bring the subjects alive.  I have some wonderful fellow students who have a wealth of experience in many areas outside of my work environment and their knowledge has also enriched my learning. 

What has been your biggest challenge during your study, and how have you overcome it? 

At the beginning of the course the challenge was believing that I could do it. I had never felt clever enough to undertake a degree.  The support of tutors, family and fellow students helped me with this.  Now my biggest challenge is time.  There are times where I have to say ‘No’ because I have an assignment due. Trying to be organized, and not leaving things to the last minute, helps. 

What’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone thinking about going back to education? 

We always encourage children to try. As adults we worry about how it would look to others if we fail, the thought of disappointing others and letting them down.  But if we don’t try, we never know what our true potential is. The children I work with are amazed when I tell them that I have lessons and I am learning.  I believe it shows them that life is about learning and improving, to be the best you can be, no matter how old you are.  So give it a go!