What about me? A personal development course for carers in Wales
What about me? A personal development course for carers in Wales

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

What about me? A personal development course for carers in Wales

Clarifying your goals

Planning a career takes time! If you are thinking of a new career, or perhaps wondering where further study and qualifications might lead you, you may want to research other resources before identifying possible goals for the future. Further information and advice is available from Careers Wales [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] or The Open University’s Careers Advisory Service.

There is also a Find out more section at the end of the course, with information links and contact details for further resources and support.

Your goal may be a new career, a course of study, learning a new skill or improving your situation – whatever feels right for you at this stage of your life. Make a note of any points that you feel you need more information on, such as study skills, funding and fees or course choice, for example – the links given above will help you. Keep your notes safe because these will help you with your plans and in completing this course.

You’ve heard from James throughout the course. Now listen to James talk about his experience of studying part-time while caring.

James: life, work and study

Download this video clip.Video player: wam_s4_james_4.3.mp4
Skip transcript


One of the things I did do though when I left full-time work, I thought, well I did a degree back when I was, I don’t know, gosh, 25 years ago or so when I first graduated back in the late ’80s or early ’90s, and I’d always wanted to do a masters degree so by going part time it enabled me to then sign up to a course locally. So I’m now coming near the end now of my first year of my MSc in Psychology and that’s been a great help for me because it’s been something new, something that I wouldn’t have been able to do had I been working full time, something I’ve really enjoyed and also a very good distraction because it’s kind of taken my brain or my thoughts in another way. But it’s kind of odd to be a student again at my age, and to be back in the, you know, sort of essays and exam kind of world, but I find it quite…strangely quite comforting, quite calming. Oddly I find education is a soother rather than something that perhaps the first time around I was very, you know, kind of anxious about and wanted to succeed in and, you know, it was all about getting a job and getting a career. This time it feels very much about doing it because I’m enjoying it and doing something that, you know, is for me really.
End transcript
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Claire: life, work and study

Download this video clip.Video player: wam_s4_claire.mp4
Skip transcript


Education in school wasn’t a very good experience for me; I was bullied quite badly, and that is something that I do feel strongly about because the effects of bullying because I don’t feel I really did well at school; I bunked off most of the time because of what I was going through. After school I did two childcare courses when I lived in Liverpool, and I passed them but then I struggled with my own issues and my own mental health. I did try and get a job, but I didn’t get one, and then sort of gave up a bit because I struggled with my own confidence and then I sort of met my partner so I became a carer again and that’s always been my sort of job and role and everything.
In the recent years, just before my mum passed away, I was considering learning sign language, which, obviously, since she passed away I’ve started that in September of 2013. I did an introduction level 2013–2014 which I passed somehow, don’t know how that happened. But I actually had to talk myself into going the first night because I was really nervous. Because I was bullied in the past, I was really nervous of going into that setting and that whole environment, and I passed that and I’m now doing IBSL Level 1, which I started last September and I’ve got an exam tomorrow night and then that finishes June and then, fingers crossed, I’ll pass that and then I’m planning hopefully to go back in September and do Level 2.
End transcript
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

As you listened to James and Claire, did you notice if they were always sure about what they wanted to do? Although James had wanted to do a masters degree, he had not originally planned to pursue post-graduate study. Claire had tried different education routes before she discovered her enjoyment and enthusiasm for sign language, in which she is now working towards a qualification.

Sometimes a change of direction or goal is forced upon us. We heard earlier about how James had to leave full-time employment after having to take up his role as a carer. Other changes or choices are made voluntarily, for example if we find that we enjoy a particular subject or have skills in another field.


Do you already know what you want to do? Have you thought about different possibilities?

Activity 4.2 Clarifying my goals through visualisation

Timing: You should spend around 30 minutes on this activity.

You may have some idea of what direction you would like to go in now or you may still be thinking about it. When we have had difficult or disappointing experiences in our lives, these can affect our confidence and how we feel about the future.

You have explored your skills, qualities and abilities and have some idea of what you have to offer. Now ask yourself:

  • Where am I now?
  • What am I doing?

Take some time to imagine yourself in the future. Allow yourself to consider that there are possibilities for you.

Write a sentence saying what your hopes are for your future. You might find it useful to look back at the notes you made for Activity 4.1.

You can use Activity sheet 4.2 or save this in your notebook.


Go to Activity 4.2 of your Reflection Log.

You can share this or keep it to yourself. Once you have completed the activity, make sure you save the document again.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371