The last few weeks since I started studying Geographical Information Management MSc at Cranfield have been hard work but fun. I recently left my job at MINI where I worked for over 15 years when I left university as a summer job to earn some cash, I ended up getting stuck there for a lot longer than planned.  A few years ago I got knocked of my bike. It takes a lot to get over two shattered knee caps and a fractured wrist, which resulted in me re-evaluating my situation and life which led me to Cranfield and a new career path, doing something I enjoy.

My first week at Cranfield was daunting (considering I left university over 16 years ago) but the friendly staff and students that I met made the transition easier for myself. Everyone was helpful and friendly, a nice transition from working in a manufacturing environment, “no grown up children or internal politics to deal with anymore”. It is quite a liberating experience.

I have made friends with people quickly. Only managing to make it for a quick drink of coke at the students union so far as I’m commuting from my family home (45 miles away) and have to act as a Daddy taxi in the evening. This is one side of the student life I am missing, the late nights with friends and not having the family commitments that come with life as you get older. However, being a bit more mature I may be able to hold my drink after years of practice but the late nights do catch up with you and family is a wonderful thing to have behind you supporting you in your new adventures. There has also been less moaning from the kids about doing their homework since they have seen the piles of books I have on the dining room table.

The first week of lectures was tough, trying to stay awake when you have not sat in lectures for years and take productive notes was hard. The amount of information to take on board was huge, what I was learning in one term, I am now learning in one week. Then came the second week – coursework. I did my best to start researching early on and trying to get it done as early as I could, as I had many warnings from older students about the amount of work involved. Family life does not allow you to cram it in the last few days and nights. I suppose that’s one advantage of been a little older, you learn to give yourself a head start and plan your time better.

Mouldern woods trip

Maulden woods trip

The lecturers did manage to get us out on site for a few days as a little treat, breaking the weeks up nicely. A very informative trip to Bletchley Park and a site visit to Maulden woods, both in glorious sunshine and days for wearing shorts, an excuse to show of the war wounds from my accident. A contrast to previous years in the cold and wet from what I hear. Climate change does have some good sides I suppose.

Getting back into education so far has been enjoyable, I am enjoying learning to learn again! It was very satisfying sending my first piece of coursework in before midnight. Just hoping that it’s worthy of a few marks. I’m proud of myself to have done it as I have not done anything like this for the last 15 years. It’s been a steep slope but a good one which hopefully will bring a much happier and enjoyable future both with work and family life.

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