|Contemplating the future?|
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Students are spreading their dreams under our feet from the moment they walk in through the doors of the university. They (nearly) all have dreams of being writers of some sort and it is up to us to provide them with the opportunities to hone their craft, providing them with the tools to write in the best possible way they can.When giving feedback our aim is also to 'feed-forward' by giving them a critique that they can apply to future works. I have to say I enjoy watching the development of our undergrads. They tentatively give vague feedback in those first few weeks of the first year and then by the third year they have become confident and are capable of giving robust, constructive and detailed feedback.
This is an important skill to learn in today's world. This was highlighted when I contacted several of my previous clients (I was a businesswoman before I entered the academic world) to discuss the employability of graduates. I asked them about the graduates they employed (in the main not CW graduates). Most of them came back saying graduates won't listen to criticism and they certainly won't act on it. Well our students have to do both on a daily basis. It seems to me a perfect transferable skill we are providing them with. The ability to critique effectively seems to enter so many elements of our world. We do like to prepare our students for the 'real world' and not just for a 'writerly' one!
I do have a confession though, am feeling slightly melancholy. It is my birthday next week, not a big one, but the one before a big one. Age doesn't normally worry me but I have been thinking a lot about what I haven't done with my life recently. This week has been a great week as I have been surrounded by some wonderful and very close friends. All 3 of whom are very important to me and a lot of talking and laughing went on but I became so conscious of how 2 dimensional my life has been. If I am truly honest I haven't lived. The question is, is it too late? I look in the mirror and what stares back is a face that has been beaten into submission by age and ravaged by long term illness. It is not who I think I am or who I want to be. One of these close friends mentioned they were at a cross-roads, I think I am too. Let's hope we both take the right route next and the journey is a good one so that next time I hit the year before a big one I am not regretting what I haven't done.
I wanted to play you a song I heard yesterday by Clint Black called 'Breathing Air' unfortunately I can't find a clip for it so instead you can have this, which is just as applicable: