Reasons to return to education — the life lessons I learned outside class

Teasel heads and footpath. Life throws spikes in your path. Keep walking. Photo: Clare O’Beara.

First steps

Mature tree grown around an iron railing. Tree surgeons need an exit plan. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
Tree surgeons need an exit plan. Photo: Clare O’Beara.

Enrolling and first year

Teasel heads and footpath. Life throws spikes in your path. Keep walking. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
Life throws spikes in your path. Keep walking. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
Study essentials. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
Study essentials. Photo: Clare O’Beara.

Moving to full-time study

Coming into bloom. Artichoke flower and yew hedge. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
Coming into bloom. Artichoke flower and yew hedge. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
Above the set of the Late Late Show. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
Above the set of the Late Late Show. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
International Day, which would be over by the time evening students arrived. Full-time had many advantages. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
International Day, which would be over by the time evening students arrived. Full-time had many advantages. Photo: Clare O’Beara.

Final year

Disinfectants took over our lives in my final year. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
Disinfectants took over our lives in my final year. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
Be original and colourful. Don’t let others limit your options. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
Be original and colourful. Don’t let others limit your options. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
Teach the young. Bug hotels created by a primary school class. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
Teach the young. Bug hotels created by a primary school class. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
Hawthorn flowers, called May, and honeybee. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
May and the bee. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
Sony robot TV cameras have replaced studio camera crew. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
Sony robot TV cameras have replaced studio camera crew. Photo: Clare O’Beara.

Here’s a summary of what I learned.

You can keep living well as long as you keep growing. Photo: Clare O’Beara.
You can keep living well as long as you keep growing. Photo: Clare O’Beara.

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Clare O'Beara

Environmental journalist, tree surgeon and expert witness, and former national standard showjumper. Author of 18 books of crime, science fiction, YA fiction.