"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't-you're right."
I never appreciated how true this quote by Henry Ford was up until I applied myself to achieving one of my own goals and improving my education.
At the age of 28 and having been sidelined due to a football injury I decided I would need to keep my overly obsessive mind busy by focusing it towards something productive.
I eventually by chance decided to pick up an A level in Psychology while I recovered enough to play sports again. Psychology was loosely related to my field of work and I told myself If anything it would allow me to improve upon my education. The deal I made with myself was I would give it 100% and see what I could have achieved if I gave it everything at school, just to see my potential.
Unfortunately as most adults know you cant just drop your responsibilities to get back into education. Many have bills to pay, dependents, a mortgage as well as a full-time job to juggle and there appears to be little support available for people wanting a second crack at the whip and going back into education here in the UK.
I approached my local college and they ran no evening classes and wouldn't let me sign up unless I committed full-time with an expensive fee. Obviously this wasn't possible due to working full-time myself and this is where most people would give up seeing no available options. I didn't particularly fancy spending the hundreds of pounds for a distance-learning course as I tried that many years' prior and it proved a waste of time. The only choice would be to teach myself even if it meant doing it without teachers.
It was late February at this point and the first exams were 3 months away with one on May 25th and the second one on June 7th for the AS papers.
I was fortunate that a Google search found a local charity called AlphaTutorials.org, which was a charity that had opened up only in September and its centre was registered for external candidates to sit exams with them. I phoned them and met with Hash, the chap who ran the centre and he explained they didn't have anyone teaching A level Psychology. "That's fine" I said and I explained how I planned to teach myself.
With a raised eyebrow and sceptical look he wished me luck and I paid the £160 for both AS exams. I ordered books off Amazon and began spending every available moment I had outside of work revising for my two exams. I forced myself to feel guilty if I wasn't revising, as I knew I didn't have as much time as students or any teachers to guide me but 3 months to learn a years worth of work.
Hash's sceptical look turned to disbelief on results day as I collected my AS certificate. I had scored two A's and he asked me how I did it, "what's your secret?!" he said mesmerized.
I told him it was nothing but hard work which was simply the truth, I did give it my complete focus, more than I gave anything else. I never got another sceptical look as I signed up for my last 2 papers to get the full A level. I spent the following months giving every spare moment I had outside of my 40hr per week job learning and practicing everything myself.
I finished the A level in one year as opposed to two, having achieved an A* grade with 100% in both my final two papers, something incredibly difficult to do even with teachers for students.
Shortly following this I began receiving constant emails from students and teachers requesting revision help as I had posted my progress on the studentroom.co.uk forum. People were stumbling onto my posts and tracking me down on my email address to request help so I decided to create a website dedicated to helping people achieve the same whether they were self-learning or students. I even wrote books on how I scored so well with techniques and revision material I had written to help students and within 12 months I had over 2500 copies used by students and teachers all spread purely on word of mouth. Emails from teachers and students commending my books were coming in and how useful they were in helping them teach their classes.
About a year prior I knew nothing about A level Psychology and now I had 6 books on the subject which teachers were using in their classrooms to teach other students. The word "surreal" is an understatement.
A passing idea to keep my mind occupied snowballed into something bigger and I now run one of the most popular Psychology A level blogs on the internet. If I have learnt anything in the last year or so, it is that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and you're will is such that you wont take no for an answer, even from yourself.
Saj Devshi now runs a popular Psychology A level blog dedicated to helping others achieve the same. www.loopa.co.uk