Friday, 12 March 2021

A Brighton College pupil since nursery, this month's OB of the Month is Amy, who since leaving the school has pursued a career in academia and has just completed her MPhil at the University of Cambridge, whilst also setting up a new business.

Amy tells us about the challenges - and joys - she has experienced during the pandemic and about her newly found love of the ukelele.

When you were at Brighton College, what did you want to be when you ‘grew-up’?

When I was at Brighton College, I had dreams of becoming an accountant. However, my life journey has led me in a very different direction.

Tell us about yourself now you've grown up.

I have just finished an MPhil in Education and Psychology at Cambridge University and I am setting up a learning playground based on Communities of Enquiry. I have also moved in with my grandmother during the pandemic as her carer.

As a grown-up, I have discovered that there is a treasure-box of knowledge and wisdom waiting to be discovered after our school years. My appetite to learn more has led me towards the fields of science, business, philosophy, education and psychology. These subjects have provided me with invaluable insights into how the different subjects interweave and interrelate in our lives. My strong desire to understand the world and find meaning encouraged me to study abroad, explore more and travel. I have enjoyed meeting people from different countries and being able to share experiences and alternative perspectives.

I feel that these opportunities are helping to shape my future, create meaning for my life and to follow a path where I hope to develop education centres with communities of inquiry where people can come together to explore, challenge, discuss and solve important questions.

Over the last year with the pandemic, my life has been turned upside down. Flipping the situation towards a positive, I have moved in with my grandmother to help care for her, and this has provided me with the space to be creative, think, read, learn, and set up a new business. You are never too old to create, play, have fun and learn. I have bought the ukulele and I have my 86 year old Grandma playing the chords!

 What is your best memory of school?

I have so many memories of Brighton College as I started in the nursery and stayed through to the sixth form. One of my best memories is Mr Cairns picking out random people to share their acts of kindness in assembly. Some of these small acts made a big difference!

What advice would you give to your school-age self?

On reflection, the advice I would give to my school-age self would be to play more, explore more, read more and not worry about the exams and the marks. The most important thing is to believe in yourself and create a life that you enjoy and makes you happy.

 What do you do as a career?

Since school, I have completed various academic studies including BSc Biochemistry at Bristol, followed by an MSc in Science and Business Management at Utrecht University and then an MPhil in Psychology and Education in Cambridge. These included internships in Amsterdam and Barcelona.

Furthermore, this journey and academic inquiry have empowered me to become an advocate for multi-dimensional, multi-generational and multi-disciplinary learning playgrounds where communities can play and learn together, learning what they need, when they need it. At the moment I am a Conscious Facilitator, guiding adults online and exploring these new ways of enquiry and social dialogic learning.

What does your job involve?

This work involves helping others to open their minds up to the complexity of life by exploring important questions and listening to all points of view. This inclusion often stimulates innovative problem-solving and critical thinking. The communities of inquiry also involve discussions on designing solutions to societal problems with actionable steps.

 These collaborations are learning opportunities to co-create knowledge and new projects for the betterment of humanity.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

I am setting up a new venture and no amount of schooling, business courses, theories, degrees or exams can truly prepare you for the practicalities of life within the ever-changing uncertain world that we live in. However, this is also an opportunity for creativity and continuous personal growth and development.

What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?

Completing a 20,000-word thesis and 2 psychology exams in a tiny student room in the midst of a global pandemic.

What is the single thing that would most improve the quality of your life?

I think eating healthier will improve my quality of life. I intend to grow my own vegetable garden by the end of this year.

What are the three objects you would take with you to a desert island?

My ukulele, a good long philosophy book, and a Snorkel

How would you like to be remembered?

I would like to leave a legacy on the planet for designing multiple conscious multi-dimensional, multigenerational & multi-disciplinary learning playgrounds. Furthermore, I hope to be remembered for empowering others to be their authentic selves and supporting them to fulfil their dreams. 

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