learning stuff

I like learning, and those of you who’ve ambled over from my old internet home may remember that I once did a phd, and am now officially allowed to write ‘Dr’ in front of my name (although the only places it’s actually written down are the garage I bought new car tyres at, and a clothing catalogue mailing list).

I learned lots of things while doing that, and I’m pretty sure most of them weren’t on the list of things I was meant to be learning about.

I’ve had a few phd-free months now, and inevitably my mind has started wandering towards studying again… I think I may be destined to be one of those people you hear of occasionally, who does every single Open University course, one after the other, and ends up 70 years old with 14 degrees. That’ll be me – you heard it here first.

So, the question is, what to learn about??

Of course, there’s always plenty to learn about. Just yesterday, in fact, I learned about laying paving slabs. And today I learned that freight trains often have empty trucks in the middle, rather than at the beginning or end. (Actually, that second one is probably strictly more of an observation than anything else). And that the cafe at the train station does a rather tasty sticky toffee muffin.

But what I’m talking about here is maybe more specifically studying. I actually find it a little bit embarrassing, if we’re being truthful, but I like sitting in a classroom, listening to someone tell me about something they know about, making notes, reading books, finding things out, writing about them… I wasn’t one of those people who couldn’t wait to leave school, I enjoyed school. I collect folders, and I like putting things in them.

Oh dear, this is turning into a bit of a confessional!

I’ve been pottering over at the lovely Wittgenstein’s Watering Can blog (just why is that not on my reading list already??), and being inspired by the talk of essays and courses and reading and learning and studying. And, of course, it’s September, and I work at a university, so there’s lots of open days and potential new students milling around clutching clipboards and bags of leaflets and I find myself thinking I want that too! I want that shiny new pencil case, the timetable, the reading list!


So… obviously I’m not going back to university full time again, I don’t think they’d have me. But I do intend to get myself on some kind of course. The trouble is deciding what to study.


Sign language?


Car maintenance? (now that *would* be a useful one!)

So many things to choose from!

I did promise myself I’d learn trapeze as an end-of-phd present. The thought of swinging elegantly through the air seemed so appealing during all those late nights sat in the library. And fortunately (or unfortunately…) there’s a circus school about 4 miles away from my house, so I don’t have an excuse at all.

And given how unreliable my car is, it would be nice to think I could fix it occasionally myself.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be an actual *course* (although that’s part of the appeal). I notice that the local natural history society, for example, is running a short event  called ‘Let me introduce you to woodlice’ in a week or two, which gives the chance to find out where woodlice have featured in religion, art, poetry, music and literature. I’m signed up already.

Still, none of these things involve pencil cases and essays and reading lists, what am I thinking!

Nothing for it but an evening in with a couple of prospectuses and a nice cup of tea I’d say.



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3 Responses to learning stuff

  1. Glad you enjoyed the blog.. I think we have a similar view of studying! Be warned, if you start OU it’s addictive – I first studied with them 10 years ago and have still got a list of their courses I’d like to do ‘one day’…

    Love the sound of the woodlice course, what fun! 🙂

  2. We’ll definitely be at the woodlouse thing! I like the idea of OU that you don’t have to be there the same night for several weeks… I have plenty of train time for studying, but don’t necessarily want to be tied to a whole evening every week! We’ll see, might have a mooch around the OU website today… (not sure they do car maintenance through the OU though…)

  3. Lorraine says:

    I do OU. Some people love it, some people hate it. They do astronomy which sounds interesting, but I’ve always been intrigued by their course called ‘death and dying’. Presumably it teaches you about it, rather than how to do it!

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