Last week was a tough week. I was asked to write down ‘my story’ to be part of some qualitative work on NMDA survivor experiences. I don’t think I had quite envisaged just how difficult I would find this. Having no recollection of the majority of my illness meant that I had to ask my loved ones to tell me what had happened – in detail. Going back over the most painful and heart wrenching memories, whilst being extremely tricky, has also, somehow, allowed me to gain some closure.
Finally putting pen to paper and glancing back at my illness made me look at other past events.
Last year, around this time, I sent a tweet showing just how much my thought processes have changed since having encephalitis.
The tweet went a little something like this:
“I used to think education could be measured by grades. Now I believe it can be determined by life experiences and what a person has to give to the world.”
In today’s society it is somewhat expected that children will start school at the age of five and go up through Primary (sometimes with Prep School in-between) to Secondary and then onto the world of University, not leaving education until they reach their mid-twenties.
That makes nearly two whole decades of academia.
Education has not always been so high on the agenda. Today, whilst speaking to a lovely eighty-seven year old man, I learnt something new; how different his education has been to mine. Leaving School at the early age of just fourteen, only really knowing how to spell his own name. If this was not enough, he had to spend his last year of School sharing with the children that had been evacuated from London. With not enough teachers to go around the locals were taught in the mornings whilst the evacuees would be taught in the afternoon. I was shocked to hear this, but as he explained, education was not the highest priority at this moment in time.
Whilst education has not always been precedence to me, I have always enjoyed learning. I may not have been the star pupil that turned up to all their lessons and never gave the teacher any backchat, but deep down I have always found pleasure in gaining further knowledge in areas of the unknown.
It seems appropriate that my learning should not come to an end just yet then. Although I have learnt more over the past few years about what makes the world go round, and more importantly about myself, I am eager to delve into the educational world once more. I am, therefore, hoping to embark on a Masters in the one aspect of life I find the most interesting, brains.
Hopefully then, in the not too distant future, I will be able to write the next chapter of ‘my story’; and rather than it being full of painful memories from the past it will be filled with what I have learnt since, not only from carrying on with my education, but in learning more about life itself and what the world has to offer.