Sunday, April 17, 2011

29/100: Completing An Year

As we approach the May Bank holiday, I am reaching a personal milestone: The completion of the one year of being low key that I promised myself. I have done well in that regard. I have learned new things - teaching and writing mostly - and have curbed travel and stayed home. I lived a 'regular' life, revolving around a desk job of sorts, possibly for the longest continuous period in my entire life. I haven't tried any new ideas, not the big ones at least, and focused on doing the little things that needed done.

At the end of it, however, I feel quite ready now to try again.

The business that I work for is at an interesting juncture. Its traditional market has just disappeared, as the UK government is making some fundamental changes in the immigration policies for students. This change, while others and me predicted long time coming, has happened almost overnight. The pace of change presents some existential issues, indeed, and my time is currently devoted in dealing with them. But, at the same time, the changes present an opportunity to open new grounds and attract new customers, basically to reinvent the business model completely. In a way, perfect timing for me!

I must also add that I loved what I did for the last year and moving forward, I would like to do more of the teaching and writing, and less of managing, if I could. I am quite good with people, but I am better in teaching kind of work. I have been teaching marketing at the college, but now developing a programme on Entrepreneurship and this is what I shall spend my time on. This means stepping back from the more difficult things that I do, like pushing through the change in the organization, but I shall miss nothing: We have a new CEO now who is getting things done, and in any case, I did not enjoy that kind of work.

My studies at UCL are also at an interesting point. The funding cuts meant that the course I am on - MA in Education - will not be offered for much longer, and we are now on an accelerated delivery schedule, which may mean that we have to complete all our coursework etc by this summer. This suits me, though this is extremely demanding: I anyway wanted to complete the MA by 2012. I am therefore devoting a large amount of time on reading academic literature and writing essays. I have also noted that this exercise - this doing of an MA in Education - has a fundamental effect on me: Not just I realized what I am good at, and would love doing, this has also changed the way I speak and think. I have been taught the business of training and education working through the various companies, in IT Training, Vocational Guidance and e-Learning, but having this idea of what actually goes on in the classroom (as well as in learners' mind) opened a whole new area for me.

I have also made a decision that I shall not try to go back to India to work anymore. I think the trigger here is my brother's death, which removes the principal reason I had for wanting this (truth be told, I wanted to live close to him). This sets me free, in a way, to spend the next 20 years of my working life traveling around the world, and this is exactly what I have decided to do. My idea will be to spend the next few years in England and then move on: In the meantime, however, I wanted to do something worthwhile.

Developing the 'world college', for one. I shall return to this project, an idea that I have worked on for so many years, as soon as I feel ready. I have learned much more about the technology and the teaching online in the intervening period, and I am focused on collecting the necessary crumbs of knowledge everyday. I have focused my coursework and dissertation at UCL on transnational education and usage of technology in context, and have sought to connect with people around the world working on similar, exciting, projects. I am hopeful that I can bring this to a meaningful conclusion some day soon.

Among the other things I am doing, working to be fit comes up top of the list. Again, my brother's death shook me to the core and the fact that I am not keeping too well and the stress at work is catching up with me somewhat have also triggered the decision to follow an exercise and diet regime. I have only just started and have so far been quite irregular, but this is now somewhat top in my agenda.

I am also keen on learning another language, and may invest time next year in learning one of the global languages. This will be my preparation for the traveling life that I want to live. In summary, I am looking forward to live the life exactly the same way I lived so far, and have no regrets. That's possibly what counts most: No regrets.

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How To Live

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt

Last Words

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

- T S Eliot

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