The thing that motivates me the most is the idea of education.
I didn’t connect or engage with school. I didn’t enjoy the learning experience and had no curiosity; it felt like I was having to memorise stuff. I had three older brothers, they were all science-y/academic. It was for them but not for me, I didn’t feel good at any of it.
I went through GCSEs feeling like this and got enough to be allowed to do A levels, but I didn’t do well. I knew I wanted to travel, so off I went. I got jobs and realised pretty quickly that I would need education to open doors so I did my A levels again, in one year and on my terms. I did a bit better and went to university. I studied Psychology and learning about ‘learning’ was so fascinating to me; the different types and stages of memory really resonated.
I discovered that I am visual and conversational, so for revision and studying there was no point in writing notes; instead my study group and I would present our notes and have a discussion about them. That’s how I learnt and it didn’t even feel like learning. This transformed how I thought about myself in terms of my own capabilities. I started to think ‘ok, I thought I wasn’t this type of person, but maybe I am’.
It was an accidental discovery for me, but I went on and got a First for my degree and then went on to get a doctorate. I am a clinical psychologist now and a large part of my job is the educational component; I have to make information meaningful to people, vibrant and memorable. It’s a lovely feeling now that if there is something I don’t know, it’s just because I haven’t learnt it yet. I know I can do absolutely anything and everything.
I want my kids to have curiosity and confidence. If you enjoy discovering things and are confident that you can, then you don’t need to worry about anything else.