Three Down One to Go. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. I honestly cannot believe what I am about to share—three Down One to Go. Last week, I received an email from the college accepting my application for Higher National Diploma (HND) in Administration and Information Technology. Now, this is an achievement and a dream come true. Trust me. If you know my story, you’ll be proud of me.
Three Down One to Go
I Got In!
This past year has been HECTIC! As you all may know, as a single mum and a fantastic Blogger, I am also a student furthering my education at college. I have been a student since I started blogger five years ago. Boy, it’s been a long journey. However, it was nearly over as I received an email last week from college offering a place to study HND Administration and I.T.
This is a big deal for me. I have been dreaming about this moment and struggling to get to this level of my education since I left Secondary school in 2006. I was a young kid who thought she had her life sorted. But I didn’t. After 16 years of a rollercoaster of ups and downs, I have finally achieved my long-time goal.
I feel super proud of myself. It was hard work, but I knew it would be challenging, and I prepared for it. The only thing I was not prepared for was how much it cost me financially. For countless days, my daughter and I had to go to bed hungry. We have had to miss out on events because I couldn’t afford to get an outfit or transportation to attend. The bills were terrible, especially during the winter.
As you all know, my mum and my little sister moved back home to Nigeria in April 2021. My daughter and I went to Nigeria for the summer holiday in 2021. While I was there, mum and I did not get along. However, I had a great holiday. My dad lost his job and tried to get another job, but nothing was available. So, I had no extra support available to me other than student loans. I had to pay rent, electricity, gas, childcare, etc., all with Student loans. It was very Challenging. But I had a dream, a vision, and goals that must be achieved and turned into reality. So, I refused to let my struggles get the better of me.
HNC required a lot of assessments, research, and reports with a very tight deadline. Every week, we had a deadline to meet. Sometimes we had two assessments that needed to be submitted in the same week. These were reports of more than 1,000 words, sometimes 2,500 words. It was a nightmare. I was up all night, nearly every night, working on assessments. There were a lot of critical thinking, report writing skills, planning, time management, note writing and reading.
Thank God for YouTube. I probably don’t know how I would have coped if YouTube was not available. I am a visual and practical learner, learning better through videos, pictures etc. My assessments required a lot of reading, and there were some subjects, such as Human Resources Management, Economics, and Marketing, that I didn’t understand. I had to use YouTube to help build a better understanding of the subject.
We had two days of online classes and one day on campus. Due to my hardness of hearing, I was struggling with online courses. However, the classes were recorded, so I could play it back repeatedly while working on Assessments. The lecturers were very understanding and helpful. My classmates were very friendly and mature. They did not interrupt during classes and were very supportive of each other. I even made new friends. Unfortunately, I had a lot of work to do and didn’t have enough time to socialise out of college.
Honestly, this is the first time I felt highly supported and heard since I started college in 2006. I was able to ask as many questions as I wanted. The lecturers were very friendly, made extra effort to help me and everyone in the class, and ensured that we all understood what was aught before we moved on to another topic.
This unit was a very good one. I learned much about the importance of upgrading my communication skills from a basic level to a professional level when working in the business/cooperative industry. Whether it is through planning and conducting business meetings, researching, writing a report, reading, and paying attention to taking notes of and phrases to evaluate the topic in a report format. I enjoyed this unit.
The only struggle I had was the reading part. If the topic doesn’t interest me, I would get bored quickly and lose focus. However, I enjoyed the report writing and conducting a meeting. We had to work together as a team. Although I previously had terrible experiences working as a team, my team members were mature and acted accordingly.
I had high hopes for this unit and was very interested in it. However, I felt Business Law was too short and required a lot of reading. Half of the time, I wasn’t taking classes as I focused on completing other assessments. The good thing is that it was an online class that was being recorded. Although I wasn’t participating in classes, I had the chance to catch up via playback. Taking this unit has helped develop my knowledge about Sources of Law, Contract Law, and Agency and Business Law.
Digital Technologies for Administrators
I enjoyed everything about this unit. We had to organise a virtual art gallery event and use social media for promotion. We learnt about using Google Analyst to reach out to more people to attend our event. You believe I took notes of each step to implement on my analyst for the blog.
Now Database, I already had previous experience using the database system, so I had confidence while taking the unit. It was more like a knowledge development using all the different functions and techniques on the Database. Using a proforma to plan how the Database is set up, developing relationships, creating, and Designing tables, Using Quires to extract information from the tables, Design a form and reports.
Honestly, don’t get me started with Economics. Lord, know I tried my best, but I struggled to understand the basic concept of Economics. I spent countless nights studying this unit, watching YouTube Videos to help, and just trying to know how the multiplier effect works, the Elastic, the Circular Flow, the Supply and Demand Curve etc. I still couldn’t get it. The worst part was that we had an exam for this unit, and I knew I would fail. So, this unit was my least favourite.
This unit made me dream of being an accountant. I was better at it than I thought I would be. We learned how to complete a Ledger, V.A.T Return, and Bank Reconciliation. Initially, I thought I would not be able to cope with the unit as it has been a while since I have been involved in anything that required a lot of attention. However, I enjoyed the class. If you don’t know, math was my favourite subject at school. I learn so much better with numbers.
Human Resources Management
I feel this unit was bittersweet. I enjoyed learning about how Human Resources Management works and how it impacts a company’s success. It was a concise, straight-to-point unit that required a lot of theory and research. I did not have much time or desire for this unit because the teaching was unexpected. We had a few sessions with the lecturer, and then we were given 6 to 8 weeks to complete the assessments.
I thought I had everything under control, so I decided to focus on my other unit’s assessments. However, I realised that by the time I had completed other units’ assessments, I had forgotten entirely about the H.R., and then I’ll go back at the very last minute, which made me struggle. Also, I couldn’t remember what we were supposed to do and what the assessment was about. The lecturer was very helpful as she organised a one-to-one support session to discuss your progress. I nearly cried at some point because I was running late and I didn’t
Marketing was another short unit. I enjoyed it. We had a marketing project to work on: preparing a marketing report on a company of choice. I choose Travelodge Hotel. During the research, I found out the resources Travelodge uses to promote its business by creating a feedback form/survey to ask for feedback on what people thought about the hotel and what they would want to see in the future. I hope to own a hotel one day, so it was interesting to know what the public is looking for when they book a hotel.
This unit was where all the magic happened. All the knowledge we have gained from all the other units so far was brought to life during this unit. This unit was based on a case study of an organisation whose management was dysfunctional, and using our Admin skills to help solve a problem from every department of the organisation. It made me visualise myself in an office and ask how I would react to certain situations in the case study. It also made me realise the importance of providing good customer services to external and internal customers.
Personal Development Planning
This unit was my favourite of all. I loved everything about it. As a blogger who shares some personal development topics, you can imagine how excited I was during this unit. It covered just about everything I posted about but was based on a career in the cooperative industry. From Vision Boarding, Goals Settings, SWOT Analysis, Learning Styles, Self-Appraisal, and even creating a Study Plan for myself to use the whole year.
I learned many new things about myself and found that I am perfect the way I am (which I already know) and that I have something to offer in the industry. Being a practical learner, I would prefer to see the results of what is expected from each task or instruction. This way, I will know whether I am doing something right. For example, I love baking. If I want to try out a new recipe for a carrot cake, I will prefer to watch a video on YouTube first before I start baking or even buy the ingredients. This way, I will know what to expect and will be able to explain to the shop assistant what I am looking for and what it does for more clarification.
The same with Database. I already had experience with spreadsheets. However, I realised that there’s always something new to learn. I explored different ways to use graphs and tables on a spreadsheet and collaborate with other workbooks.
This was a critical unit to cover as an Administrator. As Administrators, we will be producing a lot of Reports, Creating Forms, Writing Letters, Meeting Agendas and Minutes etc. So, we must be aware of the tools and tricks available to help make things easier and quicker. It covered everything you need to know when you are using word processing to draft and complete any forms of documentation. The only struggle I had was a multi-page documentation task we had – one- or two-pages landscape. I did not think that was even possible. So, I was very new to this task. Again, using YouTube videos and some extra support from the lecturer. I finally completed it and passed everything.
Every Next Level of Your Life Will Demand a Different You
Overall, I enjoyed the course. Yes, it was very challenging. I put a lot of pressure on myself to ensure I pass and get into the HND level. I avoided any negative energy, including a family drama and friendship drama. Sadly, I even lost a friendship that started in childhood. Life is about choices, and I decided to focus on my business and stay away from others.
For once in my life, I put myself first with no distractions. I had a lot on my plate anyway – college, my daughter, my man, my blog, and other businesses. There was no room for distractions or any negativity. So, I prioritise my life based on the most important things to me, and I succeed. The best of all was that I did this all by myself. And I succeeded. This time next year, I will hear graduation bells.
If I Can Do It, So Can You
Listen, I know the world is literally on fire right now, but that doesn’t mean you are on fire. Your life has not stopped and will not stop until you stop breathing. If you have a dream, it is time to go after it. I have spent 16 years of my life getting to this level in my education. It took me 16 years of trials and education failures, lack of confidence and self-doubt.
Within those years, I have been laughed at, shamed, raped, and heard many ‘Nos’ and doors being shut on my face when I asked for help or sought an opportunity. I became a single mother, and I was diagnosed with HIV and listened to people telling me that there was nothing left for me in this world and that I should give up. I continued to work hard, and at last, I got my dream job but lost it due to the coronavirus and lockdown. Still, none of this has stopped me from going after my dream. This time next year, I’ll be graduating from college! I am super excited.
My motivation is my daughter and my future. Believe it or not, I still have a lot. I promised to give her the best life ever when my daughter was born. I wanted a life of financial freedom and many opportunities and choices for myself and my daughter—a life I wish I had while growing up. Once I am done furthering my education, I never want my daughter and my future children to go hungry again. I also want to be a physical example of what it takes to get what you want in life -Hard Work and Determination.
It isn’t over until I win.
It’s not too late for me. It’s not too late for you.
Thank you all for reading and for your support.
Thank you to all the guest authors for the unique articles that have kept the blog going in the past year. I appreciate it.
I hope you enjoyed that.
Heather @ US Japan Fam
Way to go, what an accomplishment! I often feel like maybe I should go back to school for a higher degree or at least a certificate or something to make my resume stand out, but it’s hard to figure out IN WHAT, and then I get stuck in the busy day to day of momming 3 kids and the content creation hustle…