Adult education (2)

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When I received the email that I had made the shortlist, I was in shock! How?!

Then the second round came and I was elated to find that I was one of the 15 East Africans chosen. Euphoria!
We went for a training session in Nairobi, to get to know how to use the system, interact with alumni and get ready to begin.
I was the youngest least qualified person in the room. Some people were doing their second or third Masters,others were speaking of PhDs; They worked in established institutions and here I was trying to explain the mothful that is “40 days over 40 Smiles Foundation.”
In the afternoon, one of the Professors who had flown in for orientation asked, “How many of you got permission from your bosses to pursue further education?” Hands went up.
He turned to me and asked why I hadn’t put up my hand..then added “I forgot, you are the boss!” Everyone laughed. I didn’t. Deep down I felt intimidated and undeserving.
It was the continuous joke from then on. I perfected my poker face.

One of the requirements for the scholarship had been to explain how you would develop your country after the degree and I had given an elaborate plan; my vision for 4040. It was all I had. It had to work.

Little did I know that getting in was the easy part.
We received our first major assignment and boom, another blow. I fell sick and doctors could not figure out how/why despite tests. I hated to be the new student asking for extra time but I had no choice. It was granted and I literally
The next assignment came with it’s challenges. I mistakenly used a phrase without crediting the author-plagiarism! I received a stern warning thereafter. My undergrad hadn’t prepared me even by 20% for this new system.
I continued struggling though. After year 1, I was convinced I would fail.
I said it to myself and anyone who asked.
Whenever results were about to come, my body went through pretty much everything but a stroke.
I knew if I had been paying my tuition I would quit but I kept telling myself this scholarship could have gone to anyone and I was privileged, how could I ruin this? I decided to hang in, albeit painfully.
The work load was crazy. I didn’t really have a break in my own life and there was no one who understood. My classmates were miles away, dealing with their own issues. The few times I tried to reach out didn’t yield much.

I had no clear time table because there was no physical class to go to. That meant, more often than not, everything else came before school.

I jumped in and out of depression. Some weeks I simply stayed in bed all day, cut off the world and then eventually willed myself back up again.
Trying to work in this state was futile which in turn frustrated me and left me feeling like a fraud, a failure completely unworthy.

Trying not to write books under the pretext of posts😞
3rd and last installment comes tomorrow.

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Adult education (1)

28

The year was 2012. I was the only one at the company who didn’t have any post-grad qualifications. I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to study but since it was a marketing firm, I thought perhaps I could do that. I spoke to the boss about the company contributing to the cost and he was supportive.
I enrolled for the Chartered Institute of Marketing(CIM) I remember being so busy that Gilbert helped me bank the tuition. Bless him
Shortly after the first class, I became extremely ill. I was hospitalised for a while and came out almost a different person. I had enough time to acknowledge the possibility of death and ponder how fleeting life was.
I asked myself if I wanted to do marketing for the rest of my life. The answer was no. That’s how I became a ‘drop out’ without looking back.

I went back to balancing office work and 4040. I promised myself the only courses I would do, would tie into my bigger purpose and would have to be at my own terms. My own terms included paying for whatever it was that I wanted to study. I had savings but they weren’t that grand; not grand enough for the UK universties I later applied to anyway. Whereas I got admitted into the universities, I was always late for the scholarship grants which needed to be almost concurrent(Requirement was to apply for the scholarship after admission)
I decided to let it go since I secretly did not want to leave my baby (4040) for an entire year.

Several months went by. One day, as I was looking through the papers, I saw an advertisement. Commonwealth scholarships for a distance learning program. The MA was two years long, with 3 months of face to face classes in London. The MA options were perfect for me and the development work I was doing with 4040.
“Hello, is it me you’re looking for?!”
I stashed the cut out in my bag, decided to keep it to myself for a while and prayed about it. I looked at it from time to time.
I pretended not to care about it to protect my heart from hurting if I didn’t get in.

Finally, just before the deadline, I decided to apply. It was so haphazard that I didn’t even first write out my information offline,edit, share with a confidant then send. No, I just filled in the essays on the spot and clicked ‘send’ then forgot about it.

End of part 1.