glenatron: (Iris)
[personal profile] glenatron
I am terribly close to being forty, my friends. Not quite yogurt-in-the-fridge close yet, but within a week or two I will be.

I don't know if this is related to having an idea of turning my life upside-down, but it may not be unrelated. I think the other part was some of the inspiration I got from riding with Jeff Sanders in December, which really got me thinking about where I want to go with my horsemanship and with my life if I am not to spend my last days looking back on what I might have done if I had only applied myself a little more.

One thing I discovered, whilst having these thoughts, was that this course exists and that if I wanted to do a taught postgraduate equine course in this country it is about my only option. The idea got its hooks in me and after speaking with the member of staff who looks after it, we decided to go and visit Aberystwyth and see what we thought of the place.

The first thing I noticed is that it is far away - even if not far in distance it is not quick travelling, once you get away from the south coast of Wales there aren't any dual carriageways and even if Google hadn't sent us down a dramatic single-track road through the mountains ( THANKS GOOGLE ) instead of on the relatively broad and easy A-road, it would have taken a long time to get from Newport to Aber.

We visited the University and I got a guided tour showing some of the facilities and talking through what the course consists of and whether I would be suitable for it. There is a lot of biology there- if you look at the course modules through that link, you'll see that a lot of it relates to fairly low level function and I would have to really up my game in that respect. I planned to study biology when I left sixth-form college but I realised at the last moment that I wouldn't enjoy it so I changed my course to philosophy. At that time I didn't have enough passion to balance out the parts I found boring, but I think horses have stoked that fire sufficiently that I would be able to push through and at the end of it I would have a much more comprehensive understanding of equines and how they work. Of course my real and deep interest is behavioural, but that is also the part I have the strongest grasp of and I think it would really be a case of bringing the rest of my knowledge up to that standard.

I would also come out with a lot of contacts around the industry and a good qualification from a well regarded university as a basis for moving from a profitable career with computers to an almost-certainly less profitable but more rewarding career with horses.

Aberystwyth itself is a nice town and I could see us being happy there- Sari and I have talked of relocating to Wales often and I expect it will happen sooner or later - but I did feel the distance from home. That said I live less than four miles from my parents now and I might well see them more if we were on the far side of the country just because I am bad at dropping by and visiting with people and my time is always full.

It would have been easy if the course overview had either been completely offputting or fired me up entirely, but of course life is seldom that simple ( and I am very rarely fired up entirely for any reason these days ) so I still have a decision to make.

It is really a two-part decision, maybe three-part:
1. Do I want to change everything, move elsewhere and begin a different kind of life?
2. If so, do I want to do it by enrolling on an MSc, moving to mid Wales and spending two years studying there?
3. If so, what do I plan to do at the end of it? Or do I just keep my eyes out for opportunity and see what the things I learn and the people I meet can take me towards?

There is also a diverging path - if I want to change my life, is this course the right way to do it? Could I move into a different direction- spend the money and time on learning in another way, work towards another qualification or move in a more entrepreneurial direction?

It is good to have so many opportunities, but it is also daunting and hard to know which direction to go. I'd be interested to hear from any of you who has done a course like this- or just gone back to university as a middle-aged mature student - how you feel it worked out.
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