Motivation and Success in Adult Education
By Galina Grigoryan
Hello, everyone! My name is Galina. I am 41 years old. I have been living in Canada for 3 years, and many things have changed in my life in terms of both my place of residence and my activities. Today I want to share my story in the hope it will help someone in finding balance, navigating education, family, and personal time in adult learning.
By education, I am a teacher, but I have always worked as a sales manager. I have always enjoyed this profession and it brought me a decent income. However, moving to Canada had implications for my lifestyle. In order to work in the same profession, I did not have a sufficient level of English. I also had a young child whom I had to take to and pick up from daycare. The global pandemic also had a big impact on our family because I couldn’t take my 5-month-old child to daycare, which meant I couldn’t go to work either.
All of this made me think about retraining in a field where I could be independent of the traditional office schedule from 8 to 5 and have control over my own time. I started by learning English and simultaneously taking an online course in the IT field. Now, my level of English allows me to study English-language courses in QA testing, after which I plan to find my first job in the new profession.
Pursuing education and overcoming challenges
It was very challenging to start studying and to change my mindset. I grew up in a society where we were taught to acquire one profession and work at one job for our entire lives. But I clearly understand that we now live in a rapidly changing world where we need to stay informed and adapt to always-shifting realities. Learning and the ability to adapt to circumstances should become a priority for modern individuals of any age.
Looking back, I see a huge difference between my 20-year-old self and my present self. They say wisdom comes with age. And indeed, I feel much wiser than I did 20 years ago. Now, I consciously choose my occupation, and try to understand and plan where my education will lead me. I look with a cool head at my chances of finding a job that matches my preferences and allows me to enjoy life.
Deciding on the choice of courses for studying was difficult given the vast array of options offered in Canada. There were several questions that needed to be answered before starting my education:
- Should I go to college or take short-term courses?
- How much will the education cost, and can I afford it?
- What amount of time I will need to dedicate to my studies, and how will it fit into my life?
I have to do a lot on my own because the time allocated for studies cannot cover the entire volume of the necessary information to be competitive. And time is not abundant. There are household chores that require my attention. I am a mother of an 8-year-old son, and I love spending time with him. I am a wife who needs free time to communicate with my husband. I am a friend who enjoys spending time with like-minded people. And I am also an individual who needs a certain amount of time for myself and my hobbies.
Therefore, finding myself as a student in adulthood made it necessary for me to carefully structure my day, and allocate time for studying, family, and leisure in order to find a balance in life.
During my student years, I didn’t have these concerns. I didn’t think about whether I would work in my field of study. I didn’t try to grasp the entire volume of knowledge given to me; I simply enjoyed my youth.
Cultivating Resilience: Overcoming Obstacles in Pursuit of Professional Growth
I had to teach myself how to effectively manage my time and knowledge to achieve desired results. At this point, I have encountered several difficulties associated with the need to learn in a completely new field at an adult age. The main challenge is the lack of time. Family and children come into the picture, demanding attention, and daily chores take up a significant amount of time.
I have also noticed certain psychological barriers within myself – my brain resists learning something new, complex, reading, watching, and solving tasks. It tries to escape, procrastinate, and seeks sleep. It’s difficult to overcome these barriers and move forward. Simply forcing oneself doesn’t work in the long run. You might be able to force yourself once, twice, or three times, but at some point, there will be an inevitable setback and an inability to continue.
It’s important to understand why you need to do it and to find meaning in it. Understanding why you’re investing your time – to find a fulfilling job. Why do you need a job – to earn money, to achieve self-realization, to be of service to others, to do something you enjoy? Decide it and go for it.
If the goal is set correctly, there will be an interest in reaching that goal – skillfully structuring your day, finding a free moment in the busiest schedule, possibly sacrificing sleep, and giving up some leisure time, socializing, or time spent on social media.
While interacting with students from different countries, I have noticed that the experience of one’s home country has a tremendous influence. We have all lived in countries with different attitudes towards education, behavioral norms, and the hierarchy between teachers and students. I grew up in a society where the teacher was considered the authority – one could hardly ever argue with them, and they were to be respected and obeyed. If a student didn’t understand something, it was their problem, and they were expected to find a solution independently. Of course, this is a generalized view, and I had many wonderful teachers during my childhood who cared for their students with love. However, the overall atmosphere of high expectations and the necessity to meet them played a significant role in shaping my character.
In Canada, I see a more forgiving attitude toward students’ mistakes and shortcomings. Here, a very humane and understanding approach is practiced, taking into account each individual’s unique qualities. I believe that is wonderful. However, I believe the path to success lies in having a clear understanding of the purpose of education and meticulously carrying out all the assignments given by the teacher. After all, the teacher is a guide to new possibilities. So why would one invest time and effort if they don’t attempt to extract the maximum from their education?
Investing in one’s education brings the realization that the whole world is open to you. And at the age of 41, I clearly see that it is never too late to follow your dreams, and learning in adulthood has many advantages. I am more determined, efficient, and persistent than many young students who don’t fully comprehend how the knowledge they acquire will be useful to them in the future.
Galina Grigoryan is a participant in the Bridging for Immigrant Women Reskilling into IT Coding Professions, C-Women.