I've been working as an engineer in a company for more than a year and this is my first job.
During the interview I asked about taking time off for exams. They told me they did not want me to work and study at the same time because former employees misused the time allowed for attending exams, classes etc. I really wanted to study at that time but I needed a job, this was the best choice of the alternatives and I was inexperienced at negotiating - so I accepted it. I also thought I could improve myself here. I certainly learn things but not in the way I want.
Last summer, I was off work for months because of a medical condition and I had to stay at home. I was bored doing nothing so I applied to a university to see if I got accepted. I didn't think I would but surprisingly I did. I know I shouldn't have done that, but I didn't want to miss the chance to study: I may not have the chance to get accepted again. I couldn't tell my employer, though, so now I am keeping a secret from the company. I really want to tell them and I also need to somehow ask for time off to go to classes.
So far I've been going to classes just after work or on my days off. I've never violated working hours because of it. As a result, I can't attend any of the classes I actually want. It's like it's only a hobby.
A month ago, I heard that they are allowing another employee to work and study at the same time, including going to classes, exams, etc. I think company policies might have changed in favor of studying while working. I want to talk to my manager about my situation as soon as possible. They might fire me for not complying with their conditions. They have the right to do that, in my opinion. I know that what I did was wrong.
I want to continue studying, but I also like my job. I don't want to quit; I just want some flexibility. I think they could agree to me attending some classes if I can explain the conditions well. Maybe I can convince them that I won't waste the time they allow me for going to classes.
How should I tell them? Should I mention the other employee or will that make things worse? Should I tell them my reason for studying is because I couldn't find the opportunity to improve myself at work?
I am open to all suggestions that go beyond just telling me I behaved wrongly. As you can see, I am aware of that.