It's been a long week; I've rebuilt mail servers, carried out radio surveys, attended meetings, written reports and finally got around to some billing - mustn't grumble, after 6 months of searching around for any bit of business that would fit my repertoire it's nice to be gainfully employed.
The choices made for me by a well intentioned guidance teacher at 14 set me on this course "No arts! Science and maths - that's what you'll study" my choices of music, art and history binned at the stroke of a red pen. Although I haven't quite 'lived to regret' that decision there are times, quite often these days, when I wish I had chosen another career - but hey no regrets, at least I have a modicum of marketable skills.
My last appointment of the week was to deliver a younger member of the clan to Glasgow Caledonian University for his degree interview. I was up at 6:00 this morning to deliver him safely, after dropping him off I drove out of the city centre intent on a walk around Hogganfield Loch to kill some time.
I haven't been there in years, Hogganfield Loch is one of those little idylls in Glasgow, one which I have fond memories of: Playing with brothers and cousins, rowing boats, ice cream and family picnics as I burned in childhood summer sun, you know that sun - the childhood one; hotter, brighter and set in a perfect blue sky, the like of which we never seem to fully recapture as an adult.
This morning couldn't have been further from those distant days (well I'm old for one thing) - it was misty and below freezing, the island in the middle of the loch hidden by mist's gray curtain; occasionally peeking around its veil to show me the vague outline of a denuded winter tree as I circuited the loch's shore. The confused waterfowl were clumsily skating on the ice capping the loch, stopping to beak-butt the glassy surface in a vain attempt to access the larder below, then skating off to what they believed might be a more rewarding location only to repeat the whole comical beak-ice interface thing again.
I got to a-thinking not only of long gone perfect summers but of the exciting adventure my young charge was embarking upon. He is being interviewed for admission to a BA course in Journalism, his enthusiasm for this opportunity inspiring to witness.
He has worked hard on his Highers; having given up a sought-after engineering apprenticeship (against the wishes of several family members) and is returning to study in order to pursue this dream. This was the right thing to do, in his case a mature decision based on real life experience.
View this in its stark contrast to the 14 year old high school student choosing subjects that will determine their future, with no life experience and more importantly work experience. Is it any wonder we have so many colleges and universities offering beauty, health, sport, fitness and other pointless over-subscribed courses - these are students studying subjects based on childish choices, informed by immature interests.
Furthermore is it any wonder we have a population of unhappy, poorly motivated adults and record numbers of mature students? I have no idea what the solution is, if there is one, what I do know is that to restrict a 14 year old through the imposition of academic blinkers in a second rate target driven education system is damaging to any modern society and the best interests of the individual.
I'm just glad some of us manage to fix the damage before it's too late, perhaps I'll pick up a prospectus from the faculty of arts - now what is it to be, gel nail technician or personal trainer?
This post is dedicated to you R - good luck honey, I'm jealous...