Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Applied for a Masters in Healthcare Law - get me!

I have been a bit frantic recently (probably explains the panic attacks I was referring to on the last post).  There are a variety of reasons why I feel I need to move on with my life - my youngest child is starting at the Junior School soon, my oldest is almost grown up (more grown up than me in some ways).  Some of my friends are thinking about going back to work, a lot of them are already working and have worked throughout the process of raising their children.  Partly it's economic necessity - the reason why most people go to work.  The writing is not paying - admittedly I have not been writing a great deal because I have been too busy mulling over my future.  There's also a rather narcissistic element in the mix of wanting the respect that comes with having a professional job - narcissistic but normal, or so I tell myself. 

I don't see the sixteen years that I have spent bringing up the kids as time lost - apart from anything else I need to remember that I really wasn't capable of doing more than being a stay at home Mum for a lot of that time.  The fact that I was at home did me, and them, a lot of good too (or so, again, I tell myself.  I enjoyed it, anyway).

But now it's time to move on.  I know it, and yet part of me is still reluctant to get out there and find myself a place in the world.  So I take a step forward, enquire about job or study opportunities, mull over the possibilities for a day or two and then convince myself I am not capable of this or that.  I have to battle my unconscious which is telling me that change is uncomfortable and dangerous (I have been reading Dorothea Brande's book Wake Up and Live! - a beautifully written self-help tome, dating back almost a century.  That's how I know what my unconscious is thinking...  I like self-help, it's one of my guilty secrets though because it feels a bit self-indulgent.  Sometimes, though, people need lifelines, and I seem to need them quite regularly).

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes, having worked out what is going on (that part of me is trying to avoid change) I am determined to find a course and stick to it.  Literally.  I have applied for an LLM (a Masters in Law) and am really hopeful and excited.  I have been reading around my chosen subject in preparation.  Yesterday I attended a lecture (or rather a panel and round table discussion) at Southampton University -  I had resolved to make the most of any opportunity that presented itself and so when I was invited to this event I realised I had to attend, to start as I mean to go on. 

It was really interesting.  One of the panel member is, I think, a lawyer who began his professional life as a doctor and specialised in liver disease.  He got so angry about the fact that the drinks industry encourage irresponsible drinking or don't do enough to prevent it - that his patients were dying unnecessarily - that he decided to switch careers, and now spends a lot of his time and effort lobbying Parliament to raise the minimum price per unit of alcohol.  (This particularly grabbed my attention because I could see parallels with the behaviour of Big Pharma.  And it occurred to me that as a lawyer (once I become a lawyer) my opinions on that subject will command a lot more respect than they do as someone who has been through the mental health system.  Anyone agree with that?)

The room was full of people like that - people who are passionate about their subject (the discussion was multi-disciplinary) - people who are trying to further understanding or battle injustice or generally improve the world.  I want to be a part of all that.  So I made a big effort afterwards, while everyone was 'mingling' (weird word) to join in and meet people and make connections.  I am not the most socially adept person, but I guess that everything improves with practice - at least I hope so, because I often walk away from these things feeling that I have made a complete idiot of myself.  But hey ho.

What does matter is that if I get on the course (please, please!) I focus on my studies and do as well as I can, learn as much as possible.  I may never be as clear and articulate as these other academics - I really wish I could speak in a less muddly fashion.  But most academic work is done on the page and that is my forte - I can communicate that way with relative ease (sounds boastful, but it's true).   I actually think I could fit in to a University role quite well  - once I have learned to cultivate a more professional manner - i.e. to talk about the subject in hand rather than myself.  And to relax a bit.

This is hopefully just the start.  The plan is to enrol on a PhD after the Masters, and then to work as an academic - a researcher or lecturer or a bit of both.  I am hoping to specialise in mental health law.  But it's all flexible - I may find a job in a related field, I might become more interested in other aspects of healthcare law.  Who knows?  I am just pleased that I have found a path and I am looking forward to following it and seeing where it leads.  I will keep you all posted. 

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