Dear future student
Soon, you will be starting a journey of sorts. It could be an amazingly wonderful experience filled with great moments of illumination, or it could be aching drudgery. It will probably be a bit of both. Either way, we will be in it together.
In many ways, it is like going for a walk in the woods.
When we begin, we will put together a bit of a plan, and that will give us direction. But as we get started, we might decide to change it along the way. Like a walk in the woods (that’s me up there, with Bryan who founded Fortress Learning), sometimes it is easier to go around a log than over it, and sometimes it’s actually easier to build a raft than swim across a river. We will do that together.
These obstacles will appear from time to time and they will take us both by surprise. As long as we are walking together, then we will overcome them together. I have spent a lot of time in these woods; I will be your guide. I will help work out the direction and will be by your side as you take your own steps and make your way.
Sometimes, you might need a break. Maybe you need to repack your gear in your backpack, or maybe you just need to sit down for a while. That’s okay – we can do that, and I will be ready to keep going when you are. Sometimes I might not realise you are struggling under your load – just let me know and we can work out what to do.
Maybe you’ll get news from afar that means you need to interrupt our walk and attend to other matters. That’s okay, too – we can do that, and we can pick it up again when you are ready.
For some people, the walking will be easy and the load light. We might get great weather and encounter no obstacles. Perhaps you might like to run instead of walk – that’s okay, but please understand that while I am quite fit, I may not be able to run as fast as you. If that happens and I think you will be safe, perhaps I can take the short-cut and meet you at an agreed point and time. But if you are faster than you are steady on your feet, perhaps I will recommend we slow down a little so we can stay together.
I like the woods, and I like sharing them with others. I especially like when someone reaches the top of a hill or gets through the marshy bog and just smiles from satisfaction. I like it when they get to the point where they are confident in taking the lead, and when they start to map their own path, but I understand this will happen at a different point for everyone.
I also understand that there will moments of pain. There is nothing worse than continuing to trudge along with a small stone in your shoe, so it’s important we stop and take that out when we first notice it. Sometimes the summit will seem unreachable to you and you will wonder why I don’t just tell you to quit; I do this because I have seen what you have done so far and believe you can do it. I can picture the look of quiet satisfaction on your face as you reach that summit and look back, and then forth at the new horizons that have appeared for the first time.
And still sometimes your load will just be too great, or the distance too far. There is no shame in facing this, and maybe the best thing to do is to ease the load or break the path into smaller sections. Perhaps we will do this bit of the path now, and come back later to do the next bit. There might be times when I insist that we don’t go on, and that might be uncomfortable for you to hear.
Sometimes, the woods will be very close and the path ahead hard to see. Sometimes you will not like the path I have chosen for us, and sometimes you might say that you have walked far enough and be frustrated because we are not there yet. That’s okay, and I will empathise with that.
Sometimes you might take a short-cut and sometimes those will be okay, but sometimes they will not. Sometimes I might say you need to go back and redo part of the path. You might not like that, but please remember that it is my job to make sure that you cover the whole path. There will be lots of places where we can consider taking different paths and short-cuts; it’s best we stick together and work these out together. That way, I probably won’t have to ask you to go back.
The woods that we are about to enter might be familiar, but the path will be new. Our path might cross over other paths that you have taken before, and that will make the going easier and faster. And maybe you have even guided other people through these woods yourself. But no matter your experience, chances are we will still encounter new paths that might cause us to slow. This can be really annoying, and we will deal with them as quickly as we can. But, it is worth reminding ourselves that this is a new journey and with it will come new experiences. And, if you have perhaps guided other people through these woods yourself, on this occasion please remember that I am the guide.
Although it might seem like it, we are not alone. Behind the scenes are a whole team of people keeping an eye on us – our support crew might sometimes check that you are okay, and sometimes we might get them to help with different things. Sometimes, I might need to leave the path for a brief time, and someone else might take my place. You can be confident that they will know what they are doing.
Sometimes I might make a mistake or maybe we will have a misunderstanding or maybe one of our support crew might do something that confuses things. And sometimes you might make a mistake or be unclear or confuse things. When this happens, we will just acknowledge it and move on, together.
I have walked through many woods by myself, and guided many people through many other woods. I know first-hand the feelings of elation and despair that can come from such journeys. I know the enduring satisfaction that comes from overcoming the difficulties and completing something that I wanted so badly to quit, and I also know the regret from choosing to quit too early and the discomfort that comes from knowing that I didn’t complete every step myself.
I also know that when it comes to new paths, it is much easier to walk with someone who knows the landscape; someone who appreciates that success comes not just from reaching the other end, but also from the confidence developed to embark on new paths.
I look forward to walking with you. If you would like to join use how about you check out our courses, and give us a call on 1300 141 994 and we can explore what your walk with us could look like.