Well, thats' it. On Saturday 23rd February at approximately 10:45 I breathed an enormous sigh of relief as I heard the the words, "Congratulations, you've passed." For the last year I've been stuffing my head with information and details about anatomy, physiology, neuromuscular techniques and all sorts of other things in order to become a Sports and Remedial Massage Therapist. And I did it. At the tender age of 55 I've once again retrained.
Back in 1979, when I completed my first degree in Environmental Science and Chemistry, I said that that was the end of doing exams. Every summer since I was 1o years old had been about exams, and I thought that was quite long enough. Little did I know that i would turn out to be a perennial student.
In 1986 I returned to college to study theology, and face yet more summer exams with the added blessing of regular essays throughout the year. I'd never written an essay before, and the thought of writing even 1000 words on a single subject was a little daunting. Of course, but the end of the course I could hardly introduce a topic in less than 500 words, and my final essay ran to nearly 12,000 before it got edited down a little. Even then I didn't really do my chosen subject justice.
So you might think that would be the end of it. Having promised no more exams once, surely that would be the time to stop, but no, I carried on and did my Masters. THat was a significant point for me. I never felt comfortable about exams, and although there was only one exam for the MA, I knew I'd reached my emotional capacity to cope. Maybe it was just having done four years of study and I was drained, but I knew it was time for a rest.
So naturally, a year later I started a distance learning programme! This time I chose Clinical and Pastoral Counselling, and with real dedication and determination I managed to squeeze a two year course into five years, or something like that.
And that was it for a long time. I wondered about doing a DMin. (a professional doctoral programme), but apart from learning to swim and getting a 10m certificate for that (of which I remain very proud), I had no desire to add to my collection of certificates in the filing cabinet drawer. I toyed with the idea of doing an exercise qualification, mainly out of interest, but didn't follow it up.
Then came the events of three years ago, when I began to realise that my future lay outside of the mainstream of what I was doing in church life. I began to wonder about what avenues were open to me and my growing sense of the significance and importance of bivocational ministry and my interest in sport made me wonder what I could do.
So now I know. A diploma in Nutrition, a Certificate in Personal Training and the primary goal of a diploma in Sports and Remedial Massage have been achieved.
I dare not say, "No more exams," because you never know. I hope for no more!