Cambridge Mature Summer School 2012

Probably one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life.

After taking a flight from Edinburgh to Stansted, then a train to Cambridge I arrived quite early in the afternoon. I felt calm with an inner sense of purpose as I contemplated the University of Cambridge.

It symbolizes my innate desire to reach a point of excellence, to better myself, to go beyond the boundaries of a past stalked by academic underachievement. Cambridge on a deeper level signifies my highest accomplishment, Enlightenment. I wish to go to the university so that I can become a Therapist, a servant of others, a scientist of the mind. To learn, to understand, to hear different points of view, to experience many different cultures and to understand the experiences of others.

Immediately I threw myself into meeting people with a positive confidence which many people found disarming, fresh and warming. I opened to everyone and everyone warmed quickly to me. I felt part of a family, a community. We each shared interesting stories, views, ideas. Everyone was extremely talented and intelligent, and we all found it easy to relate to each other. My rapport skills had a great work-out and my confidence with others is heightening.

We started Thursday evening with Ice-breakers. Many people dreaded this but I really looked forward to it and it with good reason. It was an un-obtrusive ice-breaker session where we all got to meet each other and have lots of fun, not the usual awkward team-building sessions you get in the financial world. We all then stayed up way past bed-time hours sampling the night-life, brilliant!

Friday was early risen, a fry-up and then lectures from Giles Yeo, a brilliant lecturer who spoke on metabolic science. A trip to the science library then after other lectures we experienced a punting tour along the river Cam where many of the colleges are situated. We learnt of endless facts and the great scholars who have been at Cambridge. This was followed by an outstanding meal at Wolfson college. Julius Caesar, Shakespeare’s classic started in the evening of one of the other colleges. We all loved it! This was followed with excellent late night drunken student shenanigans!

Saturday we had several other lectures in biochemistry and we went to the institute of astronomy and the zoology museum. This of course sparked much talk of the universe, evolution, genetics, human responsibilities, and religion. In the evening we were fortunate to have a couple of admissions tutors ask our questions. This was followed by a formal Gala dinner at Clare college with a Michelin star meal, out of this world! The compulsory pub trip was legendary, we ended up at Club Fez and got back about 4 am!

After sleeping in for breakfast I went to awesome Biofuels and physics lectures. We then had a ‘graduation’ received a certificate as successfully completing the summer school and other things, then we departed.

I have made some wonderful friends, many of us feel like we have known each other for years. This was an extraordinary experience which I will cherish for the rest of my life. Thanks Cam!


The end, the beginning

I have  now finished my contract with my employer, after a decade of being with them, first as a temp, then as a full-time employee. Today I begin a new life.

Today was very dream-like. I went and visited old team-members and I had good wishes from many people. Many people were genuinely inspired by my story.  Many were really sad to see me go, “the risk, the determination, the balls!” they said, but to me, I see everything as dream-like.

When I go somewhere else I really just experience another part of my mind, my perception widens, I learn about myself.

You can’t leave something you have already mentally left. Mentally I had been gone from that place for a long time so today was very easy. I just tried to speak to as many people as I could to bring a bit of happiness to them as I left. To most of them I was their ‘Councillor’ someone who cared and listened to the stories of their lives. Some saw me as lazy, some delusional, some thought I was made to leave a ‘good job’ for a student life. Some people laughed when I said I wanted to be a CBT therapist.

I am undeterred. I know my destiny. I walk unafraid, undaunted, with power, I trust this journey!