31 May, 2022 | Posted by Colm McDonnell

Top Tips for Adults Returning to Education - Overcoming Fears and Following Your Passion

Top Tips for Adults Returning to Education - Overcoming Fears and Following Your Passion

If there’s one lesson a lot of people have seemed to learn from the last two years, it’s that life is too short to stay in a situation you’re not fully satisfied with.

Many people have decided to change career paths and go back to education to finally follow their passion and choose a course for the career they want.

Taking the leap to go back to education can be a daunting prospect, particularly if it’s been many years since you last picked up a textbook or if you don't feel up to date with the rapid pace of change in technology for online learning.

Below we’re going to discuss some tips if you, like many others, are feeling slightly intimidated by the prospect of returning to education.

Find a Learning Environment That Suits You

This can be a tough one to manage. If you live in a busy household, perhaps with multiple kids all needing a lift to training here and help with homework there, the thought of adding your own study on top of your other responsibilities can be off-putting.

Rest assured that plenty of Portobello Institute students and graduates are going through or have gone through the same thing. With the constant support and understanding of Portobello lecturers, you can achieve what you set out to do. 

As graduate, Rosie Hegarty explains:

“My tutor Marguerita Magennis definitely has been so supportive, so kind and encouraging and especially doing the BA Hons Early Childhood Studies blended learning in the middle of lockdown with my own commitments at home and young children at home.

“The guidance, support, direction, wisdomlaughter and student support that I received from her was excellent, I‘ve never had anything like it that inspired me and encouraged me to go on and do my masters.

“It was just brilliant; she was so good and there for anything at all by email or text and so quick to come back to me," Rosie said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, people have adjusted to working remotely, getting the same work done without stepping foot in the office. The same can be said for education. There are many educational options that don’t require you to take a single step outside your house. Instead, you can watch lectures, live, or recorded, from the comfort of your own home, completing assignments as you go until eventually you complete the course.

On the flip side, maybe you learn better from an in-person environment. This is okay too.

Portobello Institute offers in-person full-time, part-time and online blended learning options which give you the choice of your preferred delivery style and support at every step.

Finding the right mode of delivery to fit your lifestyle and schedule will help you to learn the best way you can.

Get Familiar with Your Institutions Resources and Norms

It may sound obvious but it’s no less true. Each institution of education you apply to will have varying levels of student support. Libraries, online databases, extra classes for writing or maths. It will serve you well, in the long run, to become better acquainted with them so that you know where they are and how to access them when you need them.

Similarly, each educational institution will have its own way of doing things. Examples include the type of font used for assignments, the citing and referencing style, and whether or not hard copies of an assignment are required. Again, these will be valuable to become familiar with, particularly when those assignments start to come thick and fast.

Practice, Practice, Practice

It’s a piece of advice as old as time itself but practice really does make perfect.

If you are an adult returning to education after a number of years away, chances are it’s been a hot minute since you’ve written an essay of any description, if ever. 

Academic writing in particular can take some getting used to and some professors will prefer different styles of writing to others. Getting practice early on in your degree will only enhance your writing ability further down the line.

There are endless resources online for how to write an academic essay, it’d be well worth your time to check some of them out on YouTube or at Portobello Institute your Programme Manager and tutors are always on hand to help you with any questions you may have. 

In a recent Google Review received from graduate, Luke Brandon, explains his experience of this support first-hand: 

"Portobello Institute gives an amazing learning experience into the world of Sports Therapy. The knowledge that has been taught has been to the highest level via the lecturers. The lecturers are very approachable, invested and care in the success of their pupils. They help in every way they can to gain the success of everyone around them."

Let Go of Imposter Syndrome

Now this one might be a little more difficult for some as you battle with your own confidence, past experiences of education and self-belief. One of the biggest barriers people face in returning to education is the little voice in the back of their heads telling them they won’t succeed. To give up before they start because otherwise, they will fail.

It’s only natural. Everyone has self-doubt and leaving a career path you’ve been going down for many years and switching to a completely different one can be a daunting prospect.

However, if that feeling is creeping in as you look at different course pages online, think about this, when you go to sit down in the lecture hall on day one, everyone is equal. It’s everyone’s first day. You’re all about to be introduced to new concepts and ideas. You’re all going to be learning new ways of learning.

If you turn and talk to the person beside you on that first day, you might be surprised to find out that you’re not the only one who has a case of imposter syndrome.

As Portobello graduate, Sinead Lawson puts it: 

"I really liked the structure of the assignments and the due dates, even down to things like being able to submit a draft and have that looked over because obviously when you go back to study after a substantial amount of time after being away from it – those first few assignments you were so nervous about your standard of writing and were you understanding the objectives around the assignments so I really liked the hands-on approach and the support.

“That’s why I decided to go with Portobello because it did feel very much like someone was there holding your hand all the way through which was really nice,” she said.

Your experience from day one through to your graduation is a massive journey of self-growth and personal development experienced by millions of people all over the world who progress in their education every year. You have the opportunity to follow your passion and achieve that feeling of accomplishment too with the support of Portobello Institute.

Take the Leap

All there’s left to do is take the leap back in education. From the start, it might seem like a long road. You might think it’s too late. But it never is.

As Formula 1 coach, Michael Italiano told Portobello Institute,

“It wasn’t something I just figured out after school. I was in the workforce for nearly 10 years before I decided on it. For anyone reading, teenagers or adults, worried about not working it out, it’s actually ok.”

Get in Contact

If you are interested in progressing your education journey with Portobello Institute visit our department pages for upcoming courses here.


You can book a consultation call with our Director of Enrolment, Brandon McLean here, email brandon.mclean@portobelloinstitute.com or call 01 892 0035.

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