Rowena Watters: I am an Adult Learner
Rowena is now a learning ambassador for Aontas, the Adult Education Learning organisation.
This story features in the AONTAS: “I’m an Adult Learner 2016” Publication.
“I didn’t feel ready to continue with my education”
I completed my Leaving Certificate in 2004 but at the time I found the whole experience extremely stressful. I didn’t feel ready to continue with my education so I decided to work for a few years. Eventually I had to take a break from work due to mental health issues. I made the decision to return to education as I felt it would boost my confidence and improve my mental health.
I did a module, one day a week,the QQI Level 5 Minor award in Human Growth and Development with the City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB) Adult Education Centre, in Barry Rd. in Finglas with Julie Moloney. This course acted as a stepping stone back into education.
“I enjoyed being in a class with other adult learners who I could relate to”
Following my positive experience, I was inspired to continue with my education and I applied for a full-time QQI Level 5 course in community and health in the Liberties College. I made lots offriends on this course and I enjoyed being in a class with other adult learners who I could relate to. My success on the course encouraged me to progress and complete a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in Humanities in All Hallows College (DCU). I am very proud to have finished this degree, especially as I lost my dad suddenly in second year and I found this very difficult. The staff in the college were extremely supportive and helped me get through it.
“I really enjoyed learning in this environment”
After college, I moved to a new area and my friend told me about some of the local supports such as the SAOL project, a community project focused on improving the lives of women affected by poverty and addiction. I began Peer to Peer Training in the areas of mental health and Hepatitis C. I enjoyed learning in this environment as the SAOL project provided great support for people with mental health difficulties. The level of support and range of programmes was just what I needed. I’ve learned so much through these programmes and I have been able to integrate with my new community.
“I met so many different people and it opened my mind and gave me great insight”
I hope to find employment soon in a job I love and I would like to continue my education in the future by doing a master’s degree in psychology. There are so many possibilities ahead. Returning to education is extremely worthwhile; I learned so much about myself and the world. I met so many different people and it opened my mind and gave me great insight. It also increased my confidence and allowed me to make new friends. It may feel that life gets in the way but education is an outlet which does so much for you and your growth.