MacPhail – 4.7.19

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Last week, youngsters from across the country were enjoying the feeling of release from school to the freedom of the summer holidays.

I remember that feeling well! When the bell rang on the final day of term at the end of June marking five to six weeks away from the confines of the classroom, it always brought to me a great sense of relief.

This was matched by the thoughts of doom that came at the beginning of August when the time came to return. Generally, I enjoyed the social aspects of school, but I found time in the classroom tedious and despite the school on Tiree having a very high calibre of teachers, I just couldn’t develop any prolonged enthusiasm for the work in hand.

I have no place in giving out career advice but there are two valuable and slightly contrasting lessons in my experience of school that I think are interesting to refer to and useful to apply to in other aspects of working life.

The first is that since you have to be at school anyway, you should try and get the most out of it regardless of future plans. I always felt unmotivated in the school environment and in turn did the bare minimum of work that would get me reasonably good exam results and nothing more.

What a waste of time! If I could turn the clock back, I would be bounding into school and thinking, ‘How can I make the most of this time and learn as much as I can while I have to be here anyway?’ With that attitude the time would have been far more productive and much less wearisome.

I think generally that it is a mistake to determine career paths early on in life, but the more work that is put in at school then the wider the spectrum of choice one can obtain.

Further, learning in any way and in any subject can be useful throughout the rest of your life regardless of what profession you follow.

The second lesson that my experience of school gives is that if you are doing a job that gives such huge relief to escape from and such a feeling of doom to return to, then another career should be considered.

Where school is concerned, we have no choice but to be there and as said above we should make the most of it, but as adults we all have the freedom to move in our careers to find something fulfilling to spend our waking hours doing and provide us with an income. The pressures of life can undoubtedly make this difficult but it should always be considered.

I do realize that the theory of this can appear very simple but it is not so easy to put it into practice.

Since leaving school, I have never had a pre-conceived or defined work-life path but at every junction of career choice, I have always consciously moved away from doing anything that in any way gives reflections of the acute boredom I felt at school.

I hope all those released from school last week have a great summer and return in August with renewed vigour for building a strong foundation for making varied and fulfilling future careers choices.