Anna Marie’s journey with NLN Castlerea

“I’m doing the Links course at NLN Castlerea. It’s great for somebody like myself who’s had difficulties, for whatever reason, finding a job.I was caring for my Dad full time since I left school until he passed away in 2014. He really did depend on me, and I feel blessed that I had good health and I could look after him. For that time, I put him first. He got great care from me. I was only 7 when my Mum died, so it was 32 years with just myself and my Dad.
I was 38 when my Dad passed away and I was just trying to adjust to everything. Through the Department of Social Protection, I got on to the course at NLN. I did feel it was the right time. My Dad was my best friend, and it took me 4 years to rebuild my life living on my own. The time had come for me to look after me, and to do my thing. I think my Mum thought, it was time for my Dad to go up to her in heaven and it was time for me to find my way and she thought, “Anna needs to make a life for herself”. I was scared and anxious going into adult education – school didn’t work out for me the first time round. I found it hard to focus and concentrate.
So when I started the course at NLN, I was amazed at how well I settled, how well I took to it, the routine in the classroom environment, doing the modules and subjects. I got more confidence as time went on. From the minute I stepped in to the NLN, I explained that I had learning issues, and some trouble concentrating, and they were so wonderful. The minute I met Regina, I felt very relaxed. I felt there was something special about the place. I met Susan and some of the other staff, they were very friendly. I felt very at ease. I came home with a good feeling that, please God, I think this is going to work out for me, it’s going to be okay. I met a couple of other students at the start and I just bonded with them. Our friendship has blossomed.
I would like, at the end of it all, to get a job. I want to do office administration or receptionist work. I want to learn more computer skills and go on to a Level 4 course. I know I want to do something, and I feel so confident now, moving into a new sphere. I absolutely intend to keep going. That’s why the NLN has been amazing because it really brought me out of myself.
Adult education can be very daunting but I can’t believe how well I have done. I won’t lie, I feel proud of myself, and I’m looking forward to, please God, getting my certification. It’ll be a big milestone for me because I’ve never qualified at anything. Better late than never. I hope I have made my Mum and Dad proud and I know that they are looking after me up there, and they’re helping me. Even with the NLN course, there have been funny little moments and coincidences, and I just kind of feel that they are watching over me. I believe everything happens for a reason. For me, life really did begin again at 40. I feel blessed to have got a wonderful second chance, in such a wonderful place.”