When I left school I had had enough of education. I was sick of filling my folders with information which once or twice a year I would have to cement in my brain, only to regurgitate it all during a three hour exam.
The thought of going to university for three or four more years was not appealing. It did not help that I had no real idea of what I wanted to “do”. Well, I did, actually but I didn’t need a formal qualification for that, though some may argue it would be a good thing. I wanted to be a mum. Not straight away. I had a backpack of wild oats to sow first.
Mid-year exams loomed in my seventh-form year at school. I realised that whilst everyone around me was lugging around those big black folders filled with notes, one for each subject, I was blithely ambling to all my classes with just one small folder for all five subjects. I loved school. But I was sick of the constant pressure.
I left. Got a couple of mindless jobs. Learned to live. Scattered my oats across Australia, Canada, the UK, Europe and Israel. Came home. Became a mum.
In the intervening years I have returned to formal study and I have a collection of certificates proving that I can learn stuff and do stuff.
And I love learning now. Because it is on my terms. I have learned to run an effective marathon. I had a swimming lesson earlier in the week to improve my efficiency in the water. I annually have to attend courses related to my work to keep my certification current. I talk to other people and through them learn about the world, different cultures, politics, current issues.
Life is all about learning and growing. It is not all about folders of notes and exams to prove it sunk in. It is a process. A dance with some forward steps, some sideways steps, a few dips here and there. Listen to the music. Enjoy. It can be more fun with someone else, but I am happy to dance or learn alone.
Today I signed up for a woodwork class. I have a project and in the process of reaching the end goal I need to master a few basic techniques. Introductory Woodwork for Women. Perfect.
But looking down the list of other classes I see so many which tempt me – conversational Spanish, Te reo, websites, sail a keel yacht, sign language. If only I didn’t have to work! I would love to be a full-time student of life.