Lifelong Learner

A student studying (allegedly)

So I’m a student.

I’m now officially knee-deep in proper studenthood for the first time in 12 years. Back to the research, assignments, tutorials and choosing nice ring binders.

Of course this time around things are very different.

Last time, I began uni at the tender age of 18. I had no idea what I wanted or how to get it. I knew nothing about university being the first person in my family as far back as I can see to go to university. I did English and Philosophy to degree level because I liked them and that seemed a fair enough approach. I did an MA  in English because I didn’t know what else to do.

When I studied, it was to do well in examinations rather than out of any great love or insight into the subject. Yet occasionally I got quite involved and tended to do well (my Masters thesis on how Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest influenced camp pop culture in the 20th century is rather fun; how many thesis get to squash Kylie, Frasier, Pet Shop Boys and Diana Ross tracks  as evidence?).

This time round, things are quite different. It’s a subject I’m interested in, assessment is activity-based rather than silly exams, its about technology in education, it’s bloody expensive… but I’m finding it hugely interesting (to the detriment of flickr,, facebook and ze blog).

After a difficult start, the brain has kicked in, and I’m very happily spending a Friday night researching online (another big change from 12 years ago), contributing to the online forums (instead of face-to-face tutorials) and uploading podcasts and video podcasts as assignments. After only 8 weeks, I’m using what I’m learning at work (being quite vocal at meetings and seminars, filled with ideas to implement) and thinking that this lifelong learning lark is actually very blinking good.

I have nothing but praise for the Open University by the way (until I get a crap mark, and then I’ll hate them!). And I don’t have to go out with scruffy youth and drink cheap beer and cop off by default with the only other gay in the village.

Education, peeps, just do it!



  1. eguinan

    Manuel, do you have sommelier aspirations?

    André (if that is your real name, ahem!), do you have designs on being a potter like Turner Prize winner, Grayson Perry. I’m sure you have the frocks for it 😉

  2. mykel

    hear, hear i say, this life long learner lark has got me big time, and i wish you all the best on your new endeavour. oh yes, that thesis you were talking about – where might i find a copy of that? sounds like a good read!! take care

  3. eguinan

    No prob, Alan.

    I oscillate, Conor. Hugely enthusiastic about parts of it and other bits are a bit meh. Overall good though!

    Manuel, do you remember to spit? I recall a wine-tasting event that got rather messy as people felt that spitting the samples into bin bags was undignified. Heh heh..

    Gosh, I’ll have to look that up! It’s floating around somewhere, Mykel. What are you studying?

  4. mykel

    hi there,
    i had started post grad Law earlier this year but personal and work commitments meant that i was unable to continue, case of bad timing and something had to give; unfortunately the study lost out.

  5. mykel

    hi there,
    i had started post grad Law earlier this year but personal and work commitments meant that i was unable to continue, case of bad timing and something had to give; unfortunately the study lost out. at the moment i’m learning web design through my work so that’s been pretty challenging but still have a strong desire to go back to uni. take care xx

  6. mykel

    sorry about the double posting, helpful kitten decided to play with the keys while i was in the middle of typing and managed to hit enter 🙂 have a good day

  7. eguinan

    Hi M,

    Looks like you had to make a realistic choice. Apparently the drop out rate in the OU is pretty high; people who just had no idea of how much commitment would be involved. You’ll find a better time.

    And how fabulous that your cat is keyboard proficient!

  8. David

    Bet of luck and enjoy it. Take it from someone whose studies have wandered across disciplines, life-long learning is the only way.

    Is that really you in the photo? The hair looks sorta familiar but a watch?

  9. David

    One from the distant mists, Enda. From a time when Mick’s poster painted corridor led to one of the more enlightened caverns, where discourse was encouraged, hope & puns thrived; a place where education was truly fun.

    But I’m rambling, you know who I am 😉

  10. David

    Oh dear and you’re only…. shall I dig out the old photos to make it worse 🙂 Did you go through the whole Kinsella’s Mirror in February thing then?

    There’s a couple of things some little, some large, that take from whole but on the whole, things are rather good. I think it was you that first introduced me to the phrase Karma and, in the main, I think the universe has been paying it forward on the good stuff.

    So, in the colloquial; “Story bud? Howruse?”

  11. eguinan

    Photos? There’s no call for that sort of threatening behaviour.

    Fabtastic that things are good (the usual “I’m thirtysomething; of course I’ve been through some shit” notwithstanding). Things pretty nifty here too. I have dispensed with all vestiges of personal privacy and you can see what I’ve done, where I’ve been and what I’ve listened to for the last three years online.

    Kinsella’s Mirror in February? I must refresh my memory on that, but how mad, to think about it now, that we were expected to comprehend that sort of material at that age. IN fairness to M Lally though, he made a fair fist of it.

  12. David

    Rightee ho, we’ll bury the photos for a more inappropriate time.

    No, not great deal of the “I’ve been through some shit” really, others have had bigger crosses to bear… note the oblique connection to Kinsella’s observation.

    I’ve dabbled in the blogosphere but been a little more cautious with my privacy – if I’m going to wear my heart on my sleeve, it’ll be on a face to face basis, not really comfortable about broadcasting it to an unseen public. As for what you’ve been listening too, I haven’t paid too much attention. It’s fair to say those difference will probably always remain 🙂 – my most recent purchases being Mark Ronson, The Beta Band, Jack Johnson.

    I got a lot of the the stuff we did – maybe not the most dark chasmy stuff, but the basic stuff; anger, love, frailty, hope – they reached me. Big Joe did a good job too. Though let me tell you Herr Guinan, you have NO idea how lightly we got off by not having John GAA. I had him for my last year – what he did to language; it haunts me still.

  13. eguinan

    Gawd, I ran into John GAA a couple of years ago. It was all rather odd. But that’s not for here… 🙂

    Mark Ronson and the Beta Band are both somewhere on my hard drive. Jack Johnson’s a tad soporific for me though 🙂

  14. David

    “..that’s not for here” – intriguing.

    Yeah, I figured the surfing guitarist wouldn’t be your thang. We like a bit of mellow. Chillis on the way to the beach, Jack apres surf.

  15. David

    LMAO. Nope, and I’m not really much of a surfer – I haven’t taken the boards out of the shed in many, many months.

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