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Annie Manning

Annie Manning – Benefits of being a mature student

My name is Annie Manning, I have been a freelance Marketing and Quality Consultant and writer for many years. Having been a corporate girl most of my working life I bravely enrolled on six counselling courses with the BSY Group. This was for further self- development, to help me focus my research for my serious writing projects and enhance my people skills for clients, families and friends alike. Not only did I manage to complete five of the courses, I passed them, to my own amazement, with distinctions. My qualifications now include:

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (Level 3 NCFE), NLP Life Skills Coaching Diploma, Basic Counselling, Bereavement Counselling, Spiritual Healing (BSY Merit Distinction) and my BSY tutors nominated me for NIACE award (certificate of achievement) and now the ABCC student award.

Alongside my studying I have been busy writing books and the past two years I have been writing a daily blog (credoblog.co) subjects include: bereavement, mindfulness, NLP and I help various charities with awareness including anti-bullying and cancer charities. I found my focus on holistic studies inspired me to ‘rant’ on a daily basis but in a positive and supportive way. My blog also provided material for my reflective journal for my NLP coaching qualification.

Distance learning can work really well for those of us with work and family commitments as you can fit it around schedules and also work to your own pace. I found the positive comments from tutors on my returned assignments really spurred me on to complete the next lesson and proceed to final exams.

I have had an amazing time reading brilliant books as part of my reflective research. I was already doing this to a certain extent as part of my research and self- development whilst writing serious bereavement projects but suddenly found myself making the time to read more. I have written book reviews and had some amazing debates with friends over dinner and have felt very positive and intellectually alive.

Utilising my new qualifications –supporting others

I am pleased to say my bereavement projects have received positive responses from publishers and I have recently self-published; ‘A Mother’s Love’ (Gospels according to Dorothy) under my own imprint. This publication was partly inspired by my courses as whilst submitting my assignments and exams I frequently was able to use my mother’s/mentor’s teachings in my answers.

In my freelance activities I have always used my people skills but these are now really enhanced by my counselling and coaching qualifications. Working with clients my knowledge and interest in mindfulness comes in extremely handy and I know a lot more consultants are applying holistic theories to their work. My newly gained knowledge, I feel, also adds credence to my writing now.

The past year or so I have also enjoyed working with other life coaches and helping other mature students with their research. I also support families with teenagers suffering from stress related issues.

I write advice articles for an educational website on cyber-bullying, bereavement within schools, developing social skills etc., and the value of CPD (continual professional development).

Studying.. it’s been worthwhile

The past seven months I have been working weekly with a dementia client where I confidently use elements of all my training in positive inter-action and creative sensory work. This has been really rewarding as well as challenging and previously I probably would not have ventured into this type of work. The husband and main carer says he has seen great improvement and a real value in what I do and they see me as part of the family unit and that makes all the studying worthwhile.

Finding time to study and follow one’s dreams

Aside of the bucket list we all have a list of skills that we meant to learn and for one reason or another we never have, or should I say haven’t found the time to do so. For some retirement may be a time that we do finally get around to cross off some of the items off both lists though. The irony being whether working or semi -retired we do have time and far more than we realise, but it is down to prioritising and being determined to follow our dreams and to some it may be seen as being slightly selfish –putting ourselves first. However, the benefits far outweigh any criticisms and those that really care about you will be supportive. I know my family, associates and friends have been really encouraging and all so proud of my achievements.

I have also written and had published articles on the benefits of being a mature student and enjoy inspiring others to follow their dreams too.

Remember we are never too old to learn new skills.