Lessons to be learned
Life’s challenges come often from what some people like to call the “university of life”, the school that teaches us lessons whether we like it or not.
And sometimes we set ourselves a challenge. Looking for a new path forward in life, or to get some brain cells moving again, we decide to take a leap and try something new.
If you’ve noticed a hiatus in my blogging lately, there’s a reason for it; I’ve gone back to university – yes, the bricks and mortar kind. And as a mature age student, I’ve been busy working out how to best structure this new regime of study, and juggle it with work, family, friends and all the other lovely bits of life.
Tomorrow, I’ll be hitting the books again for my second semester of a three-year professional doctorate. In February, I joined a group of other students – all in our 40s and 50s – who are undertaking my course at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). We’re part of the Creative Industries Faculty, and in three years we’ll each graduate as a Doctor of Creative Industries in our own particular discipline.
It’s fascinating to meet this diverse group of people: architects, dancers, an actor, a musician, a fashion designer, a student of indigenous enterprises, another researching fear of public speaking. My research will be into ethics in travel journalism, and I found myself the only writer in the cohort of 11. What would we have in common? More than you might think, as it turns out, including the desire at this later stage of life to head back to academia – or in some cases, to undertake university study for the first time. And the energy when we’re all in a room together talking about our various research projects is quite something!
When I left high school, there was no need for a university degree to enter journalism. How things have changed! Undertaking a newspaper cadetship meant learning “on the job” and I relished it, soaking up the knowledge and experience imparted by those ahead of me in the game.
I decided to go to university for the first time when I was about 26, but life got in the way and I never completed that Bachelor of Journalism degree I started. Then, five years ago, I was asked if I’d be interested in using my experience to work part-time lecturing and tutoring in journalism at the University of Queensland – and found that I loved it!
It seemed a natural step to try to gain academic qualifications at last, and so far I’ve no regrets. It’s challenging but so stimulating and interesting that the hours at the books don’t seem – so far, anyway – too arduous.
I’m not alone in this desire to go back to study, to change career paths (even if only slightly) and get the grey matter into gear. When I posted my first day at uni on Facebook in February, I was overwhelmed by the supportive and uplifting response from my friends. It even inspired a blog post from my former journalist colleague Bob Wilson, on the numbers of older people enrolling in university.
If my post was an inspiration, as some people said, then I have also been inspired by others. Among my friends and acquaintances are Jane, a journalist now studying to be a paramedic; Jayne, a public relations whizz chasing her dream for a Masters in Museum Studies; and Danielle, another PR expert now hitting the books towards a Diploma of Science. Multi-skilling? Maybe. Multi-talented? Definitely.
So yes, I’ve been busy and not blogging too much as I’ve been getting my head around what this studying stuff is all about. And the “University of Life” has kept me occupied these last couple of weeks too, with some hard but useful lessons learned.
Travel will continue to play a big part in my work. As well as maintaining my travel journalism practice, I’ll be travelling to do research for my thesis as well. Next week I’m on the road again as a travel writer, so look out for some new posts from the tropical north of Queensland.
Oh, and that opening shot? Well, it was taken as a bit of fun by photographer Richard Tommy Campion, but came in handy for my final presentation of last semester, when I used it to illustrate that feeling of throwing myself down and dealing with whatever was coming along the track, as I set out on this path.
The journey’s just beginning now… stay tuned for future blog posts as I go on.
16 Responses to “Lessons to be learned”
You go girl!
I love the opening shot! As well as your courage. At a time when many coast, you go in search of new adventures. Rooting for you from afar.
Thank you Kris…deep breathing helps!
Yes, that too! And one of these days/years I can see us having a glass together somewhere in the world! :-)
I would so love that!
Good for you, Lee, a step in the right direction. Good luck. Great photo by the way.
Yes, I love that photo. Thank you for taking it.
Learning in maturity is so much fun and far more relevant. It is easier, quicker and you end up discovering yourself. Bypasses dementia and saves on psychiatrist’s bills. The ANZAC spirit – “Age shall not weary them”. Like you, my blogging has suffered. So be it. Great stuff.
Thank you! I am finding it challenging but very stimulating…and yes, anything that helps fend off dementia is welcome!!
Congratulations Lee! A very worthwhile commitment, so I shall forgive the intermittent blogging :-) I’ve been out of uni for ten years now (although it was a 10-year stint without a break back then) and am starting to feel that itch to learn again in a more formal sense. There must be something in the water at the moment!
Perhaps there is! I am loving it.
Well done Lee, you are an absolute inspiration!
Thank you! That’s very kind…just trying to keep life interesting!!
Thank you! Just a bit of fun.