“How are you feeling about this weekend?” my beaut of a friend Sarah asked me last week. “Yeah ok… a bit nervous maybe” I replied. “Don’t worry about it lovely” Sarah soothed, “it’s natural when you’re starting something new”. I hesitated, “….I know…. but thats not exactly what I’m nervous about. Well…. it’s more…. I have no idea what to take for lunch.”
The reason behind my ridiculous concern was because this weekend felt to me, like a big deal. I went back to uni to start a course (and here’s the big one…) in Naturopathic Nutrition. Now you may sympathise with my neurosis! There would be a class full of people as interested in food and health as I am…. and we’d all be eating lunch together. It could have been prime time for foodie-judgement and my next 3 years of studying might well be blighted with the ‘that’s the girl who brought a scotch egg on her first day’ label. There was no way I was going to risk it, but as it was the people on the course were absolutely lovely. I have the feeling I could have turned up with a tesco sandwich and no one would’ve batted an eyelid. (as a side note, I love a scotch egg…. but there’s a time and a place you know.)
Truth be told, I was nervous about more than my lunch. Starting this course flag-posts a time for me where I am able to follow my heart (as well as my stomach) and learn about a subject I am truly passionate about. As with many things in my life, I have been inspired by the people around me. Now I know I speak about my mum a lot in my posts (it really helps me, writing is my therapy, but I hope its not too much!) but she is genuinely the inspiration behind this new adventure. When she was diagnosed with cancer, the doctor gave her a pretty pitiful life expectancy. Through her intelligence, open-mindedness and own positivity, she was able to extend her life for a further 10 years. A huge factor in this was how dramatically she changed her diet. She aimed for an alkaline diet and steered clear of acid forming foods. Seeing her make these changes led all of us in the family on a path of nutritional discovery – and here I have arrived today.
So on Saturday morning, I packed up my bag with new stationary , my dreaded packed lunch, printed lecture notes and headed to The College of Naturopathic Medicine at Brighton University. I honestly asked myself whether I could grab a coffee on the way in without people looking up from their flasks of green tea with a sudden gasp. In the end I thought ‘fuck it’ – I’ve got 8 hours of lectures to get through today and sneaked in a cheeky long black. As soon as I walked into the building, a lovely lady arrived at the same time – we chatted and grabbed a table together and my nerves dissolved away. These people are the same as me, following their passion and learning again. I’m not ashamed to say I properly geeked out. I made tons of notes (sharpies were involved, obvs) and listened intently throughout. Even the next day (yes, lectures on a Sunday too!) I went back in with the same amount of enthusiasm and hunger to learn. It felt completely different to my old student days of skiving in the union caf with a packet of oreos or planning the next night out with my student buddy. I wanted to know everything now and more besides. The lectures were full on, intense and pretty mind boggling (the first year is Biomedicine) and anatomy and physiology is like learning a whole new language, but I left on the Sunday evening satisfyingly tired and with the overall feeling of ‘I can do this.’
One of my concerns was always ‘how am I going to balance this and teaching full time’ – for me, I’ve got to put 100% into anything I do. I won’t, and the kids I work with shouldn’t, settle for anything less than my best. I will always work hard in my job and I won’t compromise that, but here’s the thing; a life outside of school makes for a better teacher. Rather than waking up this Monday morning exhausted with all the learning that my brain took in and from not having a lazy weekend, I got up at my usual time energised and walked to the train station with a spring in my step. At school I had a great day – my lessons went well and my soul was still buzzing from the weekend. Luckily I don’t go into uni every weekend (the grumpy teacher would be sure to emerge if that was the case) and there is a lot of home learning. This is nothing new for me really, I’m such a geek about nutrition that it is my normal night time reading anyway. Although I’m super positive about this at the moment, I’m sure I’ll hit an ‘oh my god what the hell am I doing’ point when parents evening and reports kick in with exams on the horizon or I have a particularly difficult day at work then need to go home and read about different pathologies, but for now I’m going with this;
I desire, imagine and expect it – and it will be so.
When I was 16 and doing my exams, my mum picked out this ‘angel card’ and gave it to me. I kept it tattered and torn in my purse ever since, and 15 years later I’m carrying this affirmation on. And it feels great.
Oh and for the record, I took in avocado, chilli sauce, feta and spinach salad for my lunch. Smashed it.