Just over a fortnight ago I started on a four year distance learning Graphic Design degree with the Interactive Design Institute. It's something I have wanted to study for most of my life, but even so making the commitment to do it wasn't easy.
I had to take out a student loan and commit to four years of work and I still have nagging doubts about whether I actually have the talent to do it. My experience of university up till this point had been the one term I spent at the University Of Westminster 20 years ago studying Media Communications. I left because I was offered a job, but I looked for the job because I was bored and university wasn't for me.
Starting again two decades later, I spent half of the first week in a state of blind panic, convinced I couldn't handle the workload and completely blindsided by all the university lingo, failing to understand I was doing two modules simultaneously and flailing about with my schedule.
The second week was 100% better and with each new task I am finding I enjoy it more. In fact at points it's felt downright indulgent fiddling round with fonts and spending hours browsing the web looking for poster designs and yet calling it (quite legitimately) "work"
Into my third week the workload is intense but not uncomfortable. I can achieve it and I can do it without it being stressful. My sewing time has dwindled and my weekday TV time has vanished, but I'm ok with that.
After many false starts over the years, I pinch myself that I am finally doing it. Like most things in life, the build up to it (six months!) was the worst, it gave me too many opportunities to examine it and question whether I was doing the right thing. However I can say with absolute conviction that distance learning was definitely the right option for me. My own pace, my own desk and the freedom to fit it around all the other stuff that goes on in life.
I still have a mountain ahead of me to climb, but so far it's feeling surmountable.