Louise Wyllie, daughter of much-loved Scottish artist George Wyllie, has decided to go back to university at the tender age of 63. It's quite an undertaking for Louise, particularly as she'll be leaving behind her Highland home to share a flat in Glasgow during term-time. In this new blog, she'll share her experiences of what it's like to be a very mature student.
The build up to becoming a student at the age of 63 continues.
I'm still keeping the home fires burning in my cosy Highland home, but I'm also about to start a year-long course in TV Fiction Writing at Glasgow Caledonian University.
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First up this week: even more technical challenges.
Registration online. I have been asked to email a picture which is 120 pixels x 160 pixels. How the hell do I do that? Pixies or pixels... I am feeling a sense of despair already.
Hugh, my ever-loyal partner, is puffing and posturing as I've phoned him to come home to help me. He has left his position on the underside of a tractor (he is a farmer) to sort this photo thing out. I have tried taking it myself but keep bursting into fits of laughter as my iPad is too heavy to hold straight at a distance and the resulting pictures reveal I have hairy nostrils. Hugh resorted to taking pictures off a wall to get a blank background. Then he backed through the bedroom door, landing on the bed and taking a photo of the ceiling!
Advice a-plenty is coming my way... start your reading list right away otherwise you'll never catch up; put your other life to one side for a year and focus on this; don't try to be the best, just get through it; don't be a loud student as there are plenty of those; don't piss about, work hard. And so it goes on!
My bank has also advised I can get a student bank account. This is helpful as you don't get charged any overdraft fees for the year. This is the most helpful my bank has been. Maybe they were just feeling sorry for me, although I doubt that as they never have before.
As I went out the door, my advisor shouted: "I expect to see your name in lights!" She obviously wasn't entirely clear what I was doing.
So what am I doing? Well, after a few enjoyable years of learning new skills under the umbrella of an organisation called ScreenHI, which helps would-be creatives in the Highlands and Islands, I've been given a scholarship by Shed Productions to study for an MA in TV Fiction Writing at Glasgow Caledonian University.
Shed make hit TV programmes like Waterloo Road and Footballers' Wives and being handpicked by them to learn the craft of writing for TV is an incredible opportunity.
People ask me how I ended up at this point when I tell them I'm off to be a student, and like most things in my life, it happened by accident.
I had my own events management company based from home in Boat of Garten, near Aviemore, and in 2007 I was asked to do set dressing for a show called When Love Comes to Town. The idea behind it was that eight single men from Devon came to the Highlands looking for love.
I spent six weeks surrounded by TV people and I started to get curious about how programmes came together and when newsletters started to come into my inbox about workshops, festivals and talks in all aspects of the TV and film industry, I signed up. Along the way, I found I had a passion for writing.
Last year, through ScreenHI, I got the opportunity to work as a trainee screenwriter with the team of pros at Move On Up, a TV and film production company based in the Highlands.
This led to being asked to co-write one episode of the newly commissioned CBeebies series Katie Morag. That sealed it. I wanted to do this writing for TV thing.
ScreenHI advised me to try for the Glasgow Caledonian course and aim for a scholarship, as despite what people might think, I'm a OAP on a pension with an overdrawn student account.
My 29-year-old son advised me to get an Apple Mac as my 15-year-old Toshiba is a bit slow. He kindly lent me money to buy a super duper laptop. Now I have yet another thing to learn on top of the coursework. It is winging its way to me as write this on the old Toshiba - at a student discounted price!
My student pack arrived yesterday and apparently I have now a Nifty60 Loyalty Card. I had to look at it twice as I was suspicious that they could create such a club for mature students. Nah, it's not a free OAP lunch and bus ride for the day - it's Glasgow Caledonian University's official nightclub card and gives me free entry seven days a week if I
Play Safe. Now that does sound like a Nifty60 Club.
Apparently I can get a free campus hoody if I go to the School Disco Night, but suspect I'll be in my onesie having an early night so I can catch my bus to Uni in morning.
If any of you out there have advice for me, I would be interested to hear it.
My own advice to Vintage Student me is get up and have a go as there is always someone worse than you. You've been to the school disco, you've worn the ancestor of the hoodie, the balaclava, and you were first to the catch on to the original sweatshirt, the Ladybird.
You are so old you'll have collected loads more information than you think over the years.
Last week, my flatmate from last time around as a student (at the old Dunfermline College of Physical Education) said to me: "You were the first person in college to have a pair of trainers. Do you remember? You bought them in France." So I did...
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