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But I second poster above. Paper conservation sounds very specialised and I'd imagine it would only be the big rich libraries that would employ a specialist of that nature. You will definitely probably have to move to get work a lot
Check the time table you might not be in uni evry day, also check what help is available in practical terms.
I had a serious problem with a uni lecturer and ended up finishing my degree at a uni 100 miles away. I used to drive up, attend an evening lecture, stay with relatives and attend the lectures the following day.
You could also look at studying part time, my orgional uni had 8 modules a year, 4 in each semmester for full time students. Part time you could study between 1 and 3 modules a semmester.You can usually swap between full and part time quite easily.
My second uni had a brilliant e-library, so I could look up books and actually read them online without physically going to the library.
Don't forget to ask for APEL for your experience.
DO you already have a degree? If so you might well get tom APEL for that too.
I think by and large trying to fulfil your long term ambitions when you have a 15 month old baby is certainly making it challenging for yourself! Would it really make sense for both of you to be non-earning at the same time?
Your DH is distance learning right now, what's the end goal of that? If you waited 2 years, say, for whatever study he is doing to complete would that change the landscape?
It sounds like the problem of location doesn't necessarily resolve itself once you'd finished the training, either - I have friends who have very specialist careers (areas of medicine, for example) who have to essentially go where the work is, and their spouses have to be flexible about that. Realistically, therefore, would you ever be able to return to the current area if you wanted to work in conservation?
That said, with your dd as young as she is, you have the opportunity right now to at least do the undergraduate part before you have to worry about schools. Are you planning to have any more dc? (You don't have to answer that here of course, I'm just throwing it in so you can think if it has an impact on your plans).
Is there anything you could do to accelerate the learning for when you do need to be based near the relevant uni? Have you checked there are no other routes in to what you want?
You have every right to follow your ambition. But you will need to balance that against your obligations - as will your DH, of course.
If you are really committed to spend upto 5 years obtaining the qualifications you need to be a conservator is your DH able to support you financially ? Where do you live and how old are you ? Of the places that you have found that do the course/s you are interested in, are their any grants or other money who can get? Have you spoken to the National Trust or the National Heritage Fund people for any advice ? Are the only courses you have found so far away from you and you can only get to them by train ? Do you drive ? Just some thoughts I had - that you have already thought about I'm sure Clare
Can I have a moan and see how any other 'mature' students have sorted this out.
I really want to study paper conservation, I've got several years experience in libraries and rare books handling, but all at a pretty basic level and I know that to actually train as a conservator (or worked based training - but nowhere seems to offer this anymore, not until you have some qualifications), however I'd like to begin now, so an undergraduate degree in general conservation would be fab.
Unfortunately we seem to live in a conservation void - there doesn't seem to be any courses closer than 3 1/2 hours away, and a 6/7 hour commute each day Is probably unrealistic, though I was trying to think that time on the train would be good study time etc.
DH doesn't want to move, he is a distance learning SAHD with our 15mo dd - so neither of them have any commitments where we live other than family. I already commute 1 1/2 hour away for work.
I don't really want to move away from family, but really want to get this training, I'll always regret it if I don't achieve this in my life.
DH worries if we move away for study, dd will end up getting settled and have to go to school in the new location, when he wants to stay around here. which is a very valid point. If i do a 3 yr undergrad, then a 1-2 year masters thats a long time.
Conservation is not possible to study by distance learning, and I'd need to study full time to get the funding otherwise we couldn't afford to live.