Life after TLI - Lisa's story
We caught up with former TLI student Lisa recently. Lisa has just completed her FdSc Child and Adolescent Mental Health, and will be graduating with her fellow students in November.
Course: FdSc Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Year of graduation: 2019
Tell us a bit about what you are doing now?
While I was studying for the foundation degree, I was working as a Parent Family Support Advisor (PFSA) in a secondary school, and more recently in a primary school. I attended an interview for a Children’s Wellbeing Practitioner (CWP) and an Educational Mental Health Practitioner (EMHP) which is slightly more senior. I was successful in both; I accepted the Educational Mental Health Practitioner role, and now I am supporting children and young people who are experiencing low to moderate mental health difficulties. I am based in a school providing 1:1 interventions to young people and their families.
How did you find the process of returning to education/study?
I started studying 8 years ago when I first started my journey working with children in education. The move to education was difficult at first, I was very nervous and had no idea what to expect. I questioned many things, including my ability to study at degree level, however, I soon realised everyone else was in the same boat carrying the same anxieties and concerns, and the encouragement and support of staff made the process easier. After the first couple of weeks I felt settled and haven’t looked back since. As a mum and wife, working full time, I had to learn how to be super organised as my priorities had to change slightly to make sure I completed assignments on time.
How has your life changed since you started the course?
I have been able to put theory into practice which has been amazing. The course has enabled me to progress in my career, more than I ever thought but also feel I have grown as a person. The course has given the drive to continue and to be the best practitioner I can be.
The Learning Institute gave me the confidence to believe in myself, therefore I continued to study and follow my dream. I am now just 2 years away from being a Child’s Psychotherapist, something I never thought I would say!!
What do you enjoy most about studying for your degree?
The degree was so interesting. All the different modules we covered on the course I was able to put into practice at school - I could apply all my new knowledge into my work on a daily basis. In multi-professional meetings, many a time I’d experience the ‘wow’ feeling as I understood what the other professionals were talking about. Being able to communicate at the same level as other professionals enabled me to grow in confidence and to be able to support students in a professional and constructive way, which was so important in my role at the time.
What has been your biggest challenge during your studies so far, and how did you overcome it?
One challenge was having to juggle working full time, studying, and spending time with my family. Having a good support network helped immensely, with family helping with chores and allowing me the time to study.
The biggest challenge for me was to believe in myself and learning new skills, e.g. presentations. I had the habit of comparing myself to everyone else, and thinking I was unable to study at degree level. The staff at The Learning Institute were always very supportive and knew exactly what I needed. I never felt uncomfortable asking for help, which made my learning a lot easier.
What’s the one piece of advice you would give to someone thinking about going back to education?
Go for it. Remember there will be times when you feel like giving up, however, it will all be worth it. For me personally I have very quickly reaped the rewards that have inspired to carry on. I will be forever in debt to TLI as the support and encouragement helped me be the person and professional I am today, I am so grateful to the amazing course lead and staff. I can’t thank them enough! You’ll only regret what you didn’t do.