Here am I in 1972(-ish), in the grounds of my university hall of residence in Manchester with my mum, gone these past many years. I was mid-way through the first year of a French degree.
The little I knew about my prospects after graduating were that I could become an interpreter, a French teacher or, on the strength of a good degree, some kind of middle management executive. I wasn't competent enough to be an interpreter, I couldn't imagine force-feeding schoolchildren with French passive subjunctive verb conjugations, and my understanding of management was, literally, a mental picture of a gent in a grey suit, seated at a desk, writing with a pen.
It seems now as if I were sleep-walking. When I did graduate in 1975, it was like the cartoon character who walks off a cliff-edge as if floating on air, and only falls when it realises where it is. In my case, it took me fifteen years to begin to grasp how far I'd fallen.
If only someone had shaken me by the shoulders some time after the age of 18 and forced me to look at how dangerous my zombie-like advance was! My hope for the following piece of writing is that it might help someone else avoid the same fate.
So, if you want to know more about this, on your behalf or someone else's - or you're just curious - then (click here to continue)
This page revised on: 30th April 2014
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