Guys, I have some really exciting news. I am going back to school!
I’m feeling really excited and really terrified in equal measures.
This is something I’ve been wanting to do for the past eighteen months and I can’t believe I’ve kept my mouth shut about it and it’s now only weeks away from happening.
This year I’m joining the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and undertaking their Diploma in Nutritional Therapy. Full disclosure, before I start the Diploma I have to do a science access course because my A-Level grades aren’t up to scratch. I do have an A-Level in Biology but a combination of not applying myself in sixth form and a lack of interest resulted in a lower grade than would be ideal for this course. So, I’m going back to basics and brushing up on my Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology. Once I pass that I can progress to the Diploma.
But haven’t you just paid off your student debts? Why are you now spending more money out on education, you may ask? Good question. Yes, that’s true. I have just cleared off my ‘original’ student debt from my undergraduate degree and professional legal qualifications. However, I suppose, it’s because I’ve now got the money to enable me to make these life choices that it’s made the decision a lot easier. Food, cooking, health and wellbeing have been my passions for a long time now, even changing the way I live my life so dramatically that I decided it was finally time to bite the bullet and commit to making a more concrete change.
Don’t be misled, I’ve not got buckets of cash sitting about but not being tied in to a whopping student loan has meant I can review my money and find a sensible, manageable, way to finance this course. I’m not undertaking this expense lightly and I’ve been economising in other areas of my life (hello food budgeting, goodbye regular shops at Wholefoods) to ensure that I’m not worrying about the expense – because that would take all the joy out of studying. There’s simply no point doing it if I’m going to worry all the time, which I why I waited until things were much more in alignment for me financially and work wise.
I’m not trying to brag or boast because I appreciate that I am very lucky that I have a choice to change career. But I am super passionate about this venture and I want to be transparent about how I’m doing it. I’ll be using this blog as a way to share my journey, learning and passions along the way – because those of you who know me know that once I’m excited by something it’s hard for me to shut my mouth about it.
First and foremost I’m passionate about all things food, fitness, health and wellbeing. This hasn’t been a new thing, although the visibility that the recent trend in health and wellness has brought to these areas has been a bonus as it’s made more people aware of their own health and perhaps made them reconsider some of the unhealthier choices they had been making in favour of better ones.
For me it’s been about not feeling particularly inspired and motivated by my current career choices for a while, and despite moving role a number of times within my organisation, something still wasn’t clicking. So I took some time to really explore what change might look like and whether that was a personal or professional change, or both. I read some great books (I especially love the F*ck It! Do What You Love book), spent some time online reading up about various courses, participated in career webinars, talked to others about my strengths and weaknesses and got my thinking cap on about what really sets me on fire. What would I love to wake up and do if money was no option?
And once I’d done some thinking it was pretty obvious. I love food. Cooking it, eating it and learning about it. I realised that aside from being a professional eater for a living (is that a thing? Does that exist? If I can do that please can someone let me know?) Although I love to cook, retraining as a chef and working in a professional kitchen might rob me of the joy I find in pottering about in my kitchen. So cheffing was out. And when I started thinking about what exactly I love about food and wellbeing it was the learning and understanding about things like ‘what are the health benefits of the food we eat?’ and ‘how does it affect our bodies and ‘can we make tangible improvements to our health through diet?’ which aligned with the feedback I’d received from others about the kinds of things I’d been speaking them about over the past few years – go on, ask me about sugar, I can bore the pants off you about that all afternoon should you wish.
After attending various open days for Nutrition courses and reviewing the options of Nutritional Therapist vs Nutritionist vs Dietician I chose Nutritional Therapist, and I couldn’t be happier. Let me know if you would like more info on the reasons why I chose to pursue Nutritional Therapy and why ION over other institutions and I’ll do a separate post on that. My answer would be pretty lengthy and I’m conscious that this post is pretty long already and some of you may be switching off as I type…
How are you able to do this?
As I said before, I don’t suddenly have buckets of cashing lying about. I still have a mortgage, credit card debt, a social life and all the other expenses that forbid me from studying full time. So I’ll be studying part time alongside working at my current role. I’m fortunate in that working from home is encouraged in my organisation, which allows me to use the time I would have spent commuting to study on those days; I have a flexi-time scheme in operation and my employer is even open to flexible working arrangements should I eventually need to decrease my working hours. Plus, I’m lucky to have a very supportive network of friends and family who don’t mind me sacrificing some of my social time for study. I’ve even checked with ION as I had concerns about being able to dedicate sufficient time to this but I’ve been assured me that there are others with far busier schedules (working Mums I’m looking at you) who successfully complete the course, so I’ve no excuses.
So before I close this post, I suppose I wanted to say a few words if you’re thinking about making your own life change. The first thing is, if something’s not right, listen to that voice. You know, that tiny voice that raises its head occasionally and flags that something is not making you happy? If it’s a one off then maybe you’re having a bad day but if it pops up enough start listening to it. Don’t ignore it. Dedicate some time to understanding what it’s trying to tell you.
And when you’ve figured it out, be brave. Make that change – well, let me caveat that by saying so long as it’s not going to leave you in excessive hardship or put your health and others health at risk etc. Don’t worry about what others think of your idea. When I first raised the idea of a career change there were some who laughed in my face and gave me the ‘but you’re a lawyer, what do you mean you’re going to mess about with some food?’ and that might even come from your own family. So you need to believe in yourself and figure out how to be ok with the dissenting voices around you.
It’s not easy but you can find others out there who will support you. Go find your soul family as Freddie Harrel calls them. These are the people who won’t ridicule your ideas and will be right behind you to listen and support you for making those tough decisions. Trust me. I found mine and they have been instrumental in cheerleading and supporting me through this period (and upcoming period) of change.
And last but not least, change doesn’t have to be huge. I’m not always talking about going back to school/ moving house/ moving country/ changing job. It’s about finding a way to make change work for you. Maybe a move within your current organisation, or a different working pattern would work for you.
Here I go guys, wish me luck!