Category Archives: Student

Dont want to be teachers pet!

I must admit that before last year, at 58, I was sort of assuming that my studying days were over. Not that I minded, in truth, as though my brain is still reasonably functional (or at least I like to think it is), the desire to study, to improve myself was pretty much gone. Even allowing for the fact that retirement is now 8 years away for me (when I started working, it would be 9 more months!), I’m definitely looking for the quiet life en route to retirement, even if 1 or 2 at work have hinted that I should consider promotion in the future, but anyway…I might, OK? And if anyone wants to convince me, by interesting methods, then fine, I’d definitely go along with that! 😀

Yes, my last time at school, college, or the like, for studying purposes, was 1976! Yes, I really am that old! I did an accounts course, at a college, from my first job, which I started in 1974, and that was it. Until now…

The Civil Service department I work for, are keen on their staff taking apprenticeship courses, relating to our work. Before you say anything, I fully approve of that idea, but…for those freshly out of, or still in their youth, its a great idea. They have a long working life ahead of them, and anything they can do to improve themselves for their future work career, brilliant! But when you’re 59, looking gently in the distance to a quiet route to retirement, doing an apprenticeship, well…?

Lets be honest, when it comes to things Mathematical, I’m an old fogey! I grew up on yards, feet, and inches, not meters, centimeters, and the like! So yes, when it comes to comparing diagrams that have 1 measurement in centimeters, another in millimeters, plus meters as well…yes, honey, I’m lost, to quote a Dooleys song. No, thats not the video, btw. 😛

And yes, I can get by in basic English, the other part of my course at present, but after 43 years, expecting me to know the difference between using colons, and semi colons, and other stuff like that, no chance! As to story publishing, its why I have a wonderful friend edit my stories for publication, because I’ve forgotten about most of those rules over the years. Also, as most buyers of eBooks are in North America, he adapts my spelling to suit that market, for when I forget!

So yes, its safe to say that after 43 years, I no longer want to be a studious ‘teachers pet’, but guess I will have to do my best, all the same? But enjoy it, no chance! Yes, I working, in between calls yesterday on my studying, and I was more mentally exhausted at the end of it, than a string of non stop calls! Which is what I will probably get tomorrow, as we will be very short handed at work, due to Eid being celebrated.

Talking of which, may I wish Eid Mubarak to any of my readers who will be celebrating tomorrow, or even some today, depending on location.

Video time. I might not want to be Teachers Pet, but Doris Day did, back in 1958. Its funny seeing the screen shots, as of course most Gable films I’ve seen were made about 20 years earlier, or more! Interesting fact, Gable worked on Jean Harlow’s last film, and also worked on Monroe’s last movie, nearly 25 years later. Another connection between the 2 platinum blondes!

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I’m not getting up early in the morning!

Yes, I’d forgotten what 5.45 in the morning looked like, until this week, and now I’ve again been reminded just how early it is! Mind, I suspect at some point, I will get reminded again of what its like, but for the next few days… will be nearer 8.00, or later!

No, its not because I suddenly developed a Monday to Friday job (yet), but because I’ve been on a course in Leeds all week. Been quite interesting, met some new people, learnt some new stuff, and next week, I should get an interview for a position, either with the NHS, or local government. Of course, getting an interview, and getting a job are 2 different things, but anyway…

Seriously, apart from the culture shock of getting up so early, its not been a bad week, other than on the job hunting front. I know, I know, its the main thing, but…I still have the studying option! No, not Loughborough University, I was a bit late in the day, and under qualified to be a prize candidate for the foundation course there, but as Will discovered for me, I may well still get in at Loughborough College, to do the preparatory stuff, if I want to. Yes, I plan to investigate that a bit more over the weekend, and then consider it.

Other news, well, given I havent been around all week, job hunting (before today) has been very quiet, I simply havent had a minute to myself! Given today was a short day, due to the interviews being delayed until next week (someone is off sick), I did apply for a couple when I got home. On top of that, in theory I have an interview Monday afternoon, but in all honesty, having had the time to look at it, I’ll probably pass.

Main reason for that, you could say is my own fault, its somewhere that it is complex, and a very lengthy process to even get close to, by public transport. As in, nearly 2 hours each way, on a limited timetable. And also, its not cold call selling, but it is ‘pushing’ customers, so not my thing, so put these together, and I’ll probably forego the effort to struggle to get there.

Right, the video. What I need to do, some might say. A live version, from Hollywood, very recently, what more can I say? Not the best if you want to see the band, but the location nailed it.

The weekend adventure

Alright, principally this is going to be about yesterday (which is what most will want to hear), but lets get up to date on all events, shall we?

Yes, Thursday started off this stage of things, with an awareness session, for the training course starting tomorrow. To be honest, I’d been told I would learn more about the potential job, but I didnt learn much that I didnt know, in all honesty. Done a (very) basic numeracy, and literacy test while there, presumably to let them see where they stood with the candidates, before the course.

Anyway, that all starts tomorrow, hopefully I will be a bit wiser after that!

Friday was, err, entertaining. I was meant to have a phone interview at 9.00, so that it was out of the way before the crazy part of the day got started. So, they rang at 10.30, about 20 minutes before I had to get ready to go to the job centre. Anyway, while keeping an eye on the clock, I did as much as I could under the circumstances, but we will see. Then about 10 minutes before I’m due to head off to Loughborough, an agency rings, wanting to do a phone chat, lasting about 15-20 minutes. Anyway, put that off, they are meant to be ringing tomorrow evening. Whether they do, or not, we will see, but wasnt a lot I could do!

The journey to Loughborough went fine, found the hotel easily, and settled in. Cant say the service in the bar was what I would expect from a 4 star hotel, but maybe I have old fashioned expectations? Mind, they were relatively busy, so…? Food was good, when I finally managed to order it, and it arrived!

Saturday morning for breakfast was even more entertaining, quite a queue to even get in to eat, but again, there may have been a good reason, or maybe standards doesnt qualify for star rating nowadays?

After that, the day improved dramatically. Registration was simple, smooth, and efficient, despite numbers. Then off to Electrical Engineering, and instantly recognised by Will (my Twitter contact), which is always nice. His talk was informative, entertaining, and lots of other good things. Had me thinking that if only I was 40 years younger…

I then did a tour of the building, along with a number of others, in the very capable hands of one of the students. Saw a lot of stuff I liked the look of, and would love to use, but anyway… By the time we got back from this, Will had started his second round of talking, so I went and had some lunch. After lunch, and after the talk, we got together properly, and had a chat. Anyway, to cut a long story short, if I can do the foundation course this year, I might well go for it, though I’m not sure how my brain will take to seriously studying again, after 40 years! But Will was not certain if there were any spaces for this year (99% of people there were looking to start Uni next year), but is going to find out for me. I would have to say, if its next year, it almost certainly wont happen, though I guess if I’m in a mundane job, who knows? At least I now know what it would involve.

After that, I headed for home, having had a wonderful time. I’m glad I let Will talk me into going, that I actually went, and even if I dont ever get back, at least now, at 57, I have been to University once! For those curious, I left school after O Levels, as my mother was a single parent, so never got the chance to study further.

Tomorrow is going to come as a shock, I have to be in Leeds, for 9.30 in the morning! I will get an interview, after the course, at the end of the week, so we will see how things develop, in more ways than one.

The video. Ultravox, and though this was nothing to do with love, it was a wonderful, great adventure!

All or nothing

Yes, you know how things are with life, for a while nothing happens, then all goes crazy, tell me about it! I know its a good thing, but pacing matters would be nicer. So now, I’m looking at a pretty lively week and a half, and not much time at home.

So lets start off with the event you knew about, and the one that occurs every fortnight at present. Yes, the latter is signing on at the Job Centre, on Friday morning. The other of course, is the trip to Loughborough, to take a look at a potential life as a student. Open day is on Saturday, but I’m going down Friday afternoon, so that I can make a decently early start down there, without having to leave here at “silly o’clock” to do so. Yes, really looking forward to it, though I have no idea quite what I’m letting myself in for.

But it’s today that the diary has really started to fill up, and in style. Early this morning, I got a call from one of the (many) recruitment agencies I’d applied to, for a job, I’ve made the short list. 🙂 Now the fun bit. This involves a 2 hour awareness meeting in Leeds tomorrow lunchtime, followed by a week (9-4) of preparatory training for the role. Fine, it will be different, something to freshen me up, but combined with the weekend trip, getting time to myself flies out of the window!

And then, to top all this off, when I got back from a trip to town this afternoon (get rent money and train ticket as I had vouchers that cant be used online), I have an email from another agency, about a job, asking me to ring them back. I did, did reasonably, and cinched the tests, but lets face it, that side of thing has never been an issue for me anyway. So now, I’m probably going to have to squeeze a telephone interview in somewhere, either tomorrow afternoon (given the potential employers wont even know the results until tomorrow morning), or Friday, before I head to the Job Centre! When, if I pass that, I do an in person interview, no idea!

But anyway, the poor telephone has been taking a hammering here, but hopefully not for much longer, one way or another. Talking of which, the video relates to that, though it is showing its age dramatically, with rotary dial phones, and typewriters!

Why do things when you’re expected to?

Lets face it, for most of the population in this country, who wish to do so, you do the long trip abroad either between school and college/university, or shortly after you graduated. Me, I did that at 45! Equally, most people, if you’re going to go to university, you do it before you reach 25. So fine, I’m considering doing it at 57! Yes, I’m awkward, but I suspect most people know that already.

I must admit that when I decided to take the redundancy money, and run, I did realise that at my age, finding a new job might be a bit of a challenge. Still, I wasnt expecting it to be quite as tricky as this! Fine, the first few weeks were a strange mix, given I really couldnt job hunt because of the Hollywood trip. Then yes, I admit nerves, and rustiness may have got the better of me early on, but even now, when I’m happier with the process, still no joy.

In the meanwhile, I did consider becoming a university student for the first time in my life (once it was firmly pointed out to me that my age was not an issue in doing so), though that might have been in the US, and in the end, my lack of qualifications, combined with the rules for working over there as a foreigner, I ended up passing on that opportunity. James was a wonderful rock, and help on this matter, I must say.

As is well known (I posted on this recently), my Twitter feed is an eclectic mix, but includes more than a few science related sites. As I commented this morning on Twitter, a lot of what I was writing as science fiction 15 years ago, is now either fact, or fast becoming so. Anyway, despite previous comments about my age, when a wonderful gentleman named Will posted about studying Electrical Engineering at Loughborough University, I again made the comment about my age being my main block for doing so. Just like James, he told me that my age wouldnt be an issue, though clearly I would have to do a foundation course prior to my degree, due to my time away from studying, and my qualification limits. He mentioned to me that there would be open days, to come to the University to look around, and that I should seriously think about doing so. So I did, and came to the conclusion that there was no harm in taking the first steps at least.

So I applied to go to the Open Day next Saturday, thinking I could see how things played out, before committing to actually going. And then I thought,”What the hell.”, and decided that unless a job offer stopped me going, I was going to do it. No job offer yet, so that made it an easy choice. So yes, yesterday I booked the hotel for next Friday night, in Loughborough, on the campus, in fact.

To be honest, I’m really, really looking forward to it now. And no, not just because I get to meet Will, though that will be nice, I must say. He puts up with a lot of ‘witty’ remarks from me, in good grace, a fact I certainly admire. Yes, the sci-fi side of me still sees the other side of electrical engineering, being used on me, but thats not likely to happen! But also because the idea of studying something like this has really grown on me! Very much so, in fact, its got to the point where the idea really appeals. No, at this point, I’m not saying I will do it, but I’m certainly going down there thinking, if it all works out, then I might well do so.

But yes, the beauty of this is that I can go there under no pressure. At my age, becoming, or not becoming a student is not the big issue. An interesting course, which I’m sure this will be, a chance to improve myself (again a definite), and something different in my life also play a part. So yes, at 57, I might be becoming a student, in a subject that really appeals to me. A new life, just maybe?

Right, the video. Well it will be a walk of life, if I become a student at my age, lets face it. Plus, its full of baseball, and NFL, 2 of my favourite sports.