The Learning Renaissance

Student Life: Challenge and Experience


It is many moons ago that this picture was taken at the start of my first term at University. Happy days as I embarked on a new path that took me out of my home town and exposed me to so many different perspectives.

I found many of my fellow students had much wider horizons of experience. Much of what they took for granted seemed quite exotic to me.

Food was a case in point. When invited out for meals at Indian, Italian of Chinese restaurants I often declined, saying I didn’t like Indian, Italian or Chinese food. The truth was that I’d never tasted them and had been brought up, rather parochially, to have a measure of distrust for any meal that could not be readily identified as ‘meat and two veg’!

I was a second, if not sixth-generation parochial eater. Our family had one exotic holiday in the 1960s. That was a week in Ostend in Belgium. On arrival at our pension after a day of travelling, we were ravenous. We settled in the hotel restaurant and we all ordered the only thing we could readily identify from the pictures accompanying the menu text: ‘Bifsteck et pommes frites’

When the meals arrived my father was horrified to find that the plate, contained not only steak and chips but also salad and tomatoes in a rich mayonnaise dressing. He stared uncomfortably at it and declared, ‘To think I gave up six years of my life fighting for these people, only for them to put salad cream on my chips! It’s outrageous!’

I hope all those returning to, or joining university for the first time, are equally perplexed by those first few weeks, grab the opportunities presented and have some parochial attitudes challenged.

The current situation with the pandemic may have stalled your initial experience, but things will improve over time and university will provide you with friends and experiences which will enrich your whole life.

In the meantime, please be safe and keep healthy.

Though by no means a bible, you may find my book Resolution by Ambrose Conway an amusing compendium of bright ideas for university based on my experience:

Resolution by Ambrose Conway

About educationalist04

I'm convinced we can, as a species, do much better than this if we set our minds to being much more positive and productive towards our fellow humans. The solution is learning - creating independent and autonomous learners who can problem solve, innovate and create a better more equitable and sustainable world. My books, Future Proof Your School and Re-Examining Success together with this blog, explore how better learning outcomes for all can be achieved.

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