A hard one this, Tony, but one thing comes to mind.
When I was at university there were adverts all over the place for scholarships to various places. I would look at them and think nothing more of them – I didn’t consider the possibility of ever getting one. Confidence was never my strongest point and when I saw my fellow students being paid in effect to gad about the world I wasn’t even envious. Or surprised. They deserved it and that was that.
One day I was talking to one of my professors and asked him out of idle curiosity who had got the year long scholarship to Ann Arbor, Michigan. He looked at me for a while and then asked me why I hadn’t applied. I told him the truth, that I hadn’t stood a chance. That’s where you’re wrong, he cried. No one applied. You would have got it, even if there had even some competition. I was aghast. and angry. and annoyed. Imagine.
But I got over it. I went to Spain for a year as planned and wasn’t very happy, came back for the enter EU referendum and continued with my life. Began to teach, had children and so on.
I was teaching in a boys’ school which was about to close. No one knew what they were going to do. The summer was hot, we spent a lot of time whiling the hours a way in various nice pubs and disconsolately discussing our plans for the future.
I was late to school one day and the head was quite understandably cross. He called me in. I was annoyed with myself and with him, because that morning a brochure had arrived in the school offering grants to teachers to do work experience abroad – in school time. Fabulous idea. I thought I’d go for it.
Meanwhile the deputy head had thrown the brochure away I’m afraid I had to choose my moment and rummage in the bin for it. I had suddenly remembered my missed opportunity 15 years previously at university and I wasn’t going to let this one go. I fished it out, read the relevant details and realised I had about two days to apply.
So I went into the head’s office for my scolding. Eyes down, suitably abashed and ashamed I apologised. I was dismissed. But I didn’t want to leave the room just yet.
Can I just ask you something? Can I please go on work experience to Spain?
When? What? How do you mean?
Oh not now, I said breezily, In the summer; (this was November).
Oh, that’s all right, then, said the head. Where do I sign?
And so I left the room, suitably chastised and proud of myself that I had taken my future into my own hands – at least for a fortnight.
The summer came and I worked or rather work shadowed in a bank in Madrid.
the account of the work experience itself can be found here:
What opportunities have you missed with good consequences?
3 comments on ““A missed opportunity that turned out to be for the good””
Interesting, so you might have been in the US by now…
Thank you Tony for providng me with a better link.
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you were braver than me!!!