Back to School

Why is it that every September I get an urge to buy new stationary?

People who know me well, know I love a new notebook and that I have a bit of an obsession with fountain pens and colourful felt-tips! So far I have resisted the urge to splurge on stationary. A couple of weeks ago I tidied my stationery cupboard and neatly organised existing ‘virgin’ notebooks. I also cleaned some of my old fountain pens to get them working again, ready for the Autumn term.

September has always felt like its a new beginning, it brings endless possibilities and opportunities. When I was at school it meant a new classroom with a new teacher but mostly the same pupils. We shared stories of holidays and gasped at each others exploits. It sometimes meant new uniform. For most of my working life I embraced it as a time to renew skills and dust down some of the old ones ready for the onslaught of work.

This year is different because work is sparse and likely to stay so for the next few months. Having accepted the situation I now believe that this gives me time to think about new skills. Over the past few weeks I attended several online workshops. Although initially uncomfortable, I am now embracing zoom and google classroom. I love that I can sit in my own home and learn from wonderful tutors from across the world, chat with colleagues in breakout rooms, read materials and view videos at any time of the day or night. I am learning the content they are teaching, but even more importantly, I am learning what works and doesn’t work on these platforms. So, this year instead of a notebook, I treated myself to wifi headphones and stands for my iPhone and iPad.

Last week I had trees in my garden pruned and other plants cut back.  We do pruning to help send nutrients to the healthy parts of the tree. If we don’t cut it back, the tree will keep trying to send nutrients to bits that are dead or dying. Perhaps, in the past, by using a new notebook I no longer felt burdened with old notes or finished works. Maybe a fresh, new, and blank page gave me permission to explore.

I have decided that this September is a time to cut out less valuable activities and work, so that I can let new things in. Perhaps where any part of my working life is fading I need to cut it back so new shoots can emerge. I have enjoyed a great many years working with inspiring people doing engaging work and I believe that was only possible because, every few years, I gave myself permission to adapt and change my working world.

Like many people, I don’t know where 2020 will end for me, work-wise, but I do know that I intend to keep learning. I absolutely believe that learning is a creative process which leads to adventure, engagement, and sometimes it leads to great opportunity. Back to school is, for me, an important stepping stone.

I wonder how other people are experiencing this September and would love to hear from you. 



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