Tomorrow I have my induction day at Jewel & Esk College, and in a week's time I should start their HNC course in Health, Fitness and Exercise. I'm really looking forward to it!
My daughter started primary school last week, and her going to school and my going to college have been linked for both of us. All summer it's been "after the holidays, I'm going to school and mummy's going to college." I hope I settle in as well as she does - she's been up early every morning this week saying "I can't wait to go to school again!"
Life threw a curveball at me on Friday, when Telford College (also in the North of Edinburgh) phoned to say they now had places available on their HND course in Health, Fitness and Exercise, and would I like to come to interview on Tuesday? It took me by surprise, because I had applied to Telford, but they told me they were full, and in my head I was settled to go to Jewel & Esk.
I have to be pragmatic about my choice of college. When I study I'll still be working 4 hours a week teaching bellydance, and my lovely children will still need to be taken to and collected from school every day. The college that makes these things easiest - by a suitable timetable or easier location - will have to be my first choice.
The cost of the course is also an important issue, but you have no idea how quiet institutions keep about their fees! I know it's because the majority of students have their fees paid by the Student Awards Agency Scotland, but for those of us who don't, it's very frustration and difficult to make a choice. What else would you be expected to chose without knowing the price? Why is education different?!
Speaking of which, I don't get my fees paid and I won't get any financial support for my course - which will, ultimately, make me a productive member of the workforce and a taxpayer. My degree - first class honours, politics, University of Stirling, 1991-1996 - means that I've got to finance myself through this part of my education. People have suggested I apply for an ILA, but again, there are unavailable to graduates - sigh. There doesn't seem to be any option for people who aren't working and want to retrain!
I am feeling bereft of training at the moment, and I'm very tempted to enter the Liverpool Marathon in October. But first I need to know how physically challenging my course is going to be. I don't think it will be productive to run 40 miles a week if I'm shaking at the end of two compulsory afternoons in the gym at college! Hopefully I'll find out tomorrow at the induction day.
Whatever happens, I have my notebooks, my academic diary, some nice new gym trousers, and a Lothian Buses bustracker app. I'm going to college to learn and make the most of the opportunties that will improve my future.