Friday, September 14, 2007

Regrets (Alternative Histories of my life)

Regrets, I have a few, but not really too few to mention. My mum always reckoned I'd regret not studying. Mostly that's not true but there are one or two places where a little extra studying might have changed things just a little.

When I was 17, I needed a C in Chemistry and E's in Physics and Biology to get into Nottingham University (I already had a C in Maths taken a year earlier) (Failing that, I needed just a D in Chemistry to get into Warwick University but I got that, so it's not relevant.) In the end, I got a D, E and E but my parents decided not to fund me so I left home and got a job at Fisons instead.

Thing is, at my visit cum interview to Nottingham, I met a rather nice young lady (I think her name was Sheila Curtis but I'd be hard pressed to swear to that) and she was interested. As it goes, there was only one bus per month to Nottingham and it happened to be on that day... but that meant, I had to get back to the bus station by 4:30 and so I had to leave early.

So... perhaps if I'd studied a little harder, got a C in Chemistry, I might have studied at Nottingham University... and more importantly, got together with the lovely Sheila, which would have done my confidence a world of good (and might also have meant I gave up my virginity 11 or 12 years earlier).

The second place I think I should have studied harder was in my first year at North East London Poly. In fact it wasn't so much studying as writing essays. We were supposed to write 8 essays in the first year, but come the end of term, I'd only written seven (I had enough marks from the first 6, that I could afford to get a big fat zero for the last two but they insisted on my writing the essays anyway. I had to do that in the summer holiday so that I was late registering for year two and by the time I registered, I'd missed the deadline for the second year exchange to Arhus, Albany or Berlin.

Around the same time, I regret not helping someone else study. Jude Soden was gorgeous with dark curls, violet eyes, a wicked sense of humour and exquisite curves. I'm also fairly sure she was into me as well but in those days, at the ripe old age of 22, somehow, I'd never learned to read the signals. (So, if you ever read this Jude, I apologise. I wasn't rejecting you, I was just too stupid to realise). Jude dropped out after the first year. She wasn't the only one, but to be honest, I didn't miss Richard Fairbrass (yes, the singer in Right Said Fred) at all.

And that's it really. I didn't study and failed my HNC in Chemistry twice... and I don't care. I didn't study and only managed a Desmond instead of a 2:1 or a first. Not only don't I care, but I was told afterward by at least one of the lecturers that I'd done better than they expected.

No, I didn't particularly want a PhD or a Masters. I wouldn't have enjoyed being a lecturer and anyway, since then I HAVE studied stuff... but for my own enjoyment, not for any exams. So no mum, bar the minor ones above, I don't regret not studying.


Blogger Span Ows said...

Funny isn't it: one can dream of what might have been and it would have taken only the slightest change and a whole life could be completely different...maybe with a few similarities because obviously the satr of the show is the same person.

Also nice to remember that A's and B's weren't the only results students could get!!

P.S. I've been singing My Way since the satrt of your post!

Saturday, 15 September, 2007  
Blogger carien said...

with hindsight... how about the choice of your studies ?

I have often regretted not choosing something more fitting, but now that I , as a 'spijtoptant' (<--- did you know this one ?) not only found the right study, but also understood that this, and not when I was 18, IS the right time to do it.....

still not sure about what I actually picked though...

did you ever hear of that huge survey in europe where they found out that things you didnt do come back to haunt you, as opposed to things you did wrong, which seem to be much easier to forget...

god. my english is deteriorating.
hope you can read through it.

Saturday, 29 September, 2007  
Blogger Alcuin said...

I don't particularly regret my choice of study. I've studied many more things because I wanted to, without ever dreaming of pieces of paper than I ever studied for qualifications.

That said, It does happen that I've enrolled on another course in "Creating Fictions". Hopefully it'll be the spur that will help me do something else I regret not doing... writing my next book.

(I have no idea what a spijtoptant might be, I'm afraid. My Dutch is much worse than your English).

And yes, I certainly regret things I didn't do more than mistakes. That's kind of what I was trying to say. Even when there are things I regret doing, it's only because of the things this meant I couldn't do. For example, I once went to Warrington to picket the Stockport Messenger plant, when I really should have been making out with Vicki Zee. Mostly though, it's opportunities not taken.

Saturday, 29 September, 2007  

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