50

First, just in case you have been on tenterhooks waiting to hear if I have been accepted for the MA, I can ease your mind, I have!

As part of the application I had to obtain a degree transcript from Essex University where I did my Sociology degree, over fifty years ago, 1965 to 1968 to be precise. It lists each course I took and the marks awarded. It tells a lot and yet very little. I did a foundation first year, Politics, Economics and Sociology. I remembered the names of Blondel for Politics, Lipsey for Economics and Peter Townsend was the Professor Heading up the Sociology Department. What came as a surprise for me was that I also did statistics and algebra and analysis. I suppose this was part of the course for Mathematical Sociology, which is what I had applied for. I confess I found the maths too difficult and switched to plain Sociology at the end of the first year. However, I did enjoy learning about matrices and made a small contribution (a footnote) to the book my lecturer was writing!

In the third year I did a module on the History of the Labour Movement. Essex was of course the radical university of the 1960s, full of left wing and communist leaning students. I remember presenting a paper on Rosa Luxembourg as part of my course work. But my interest was moving toward social psychology, and small group dynamics, which was of great benefit in my working life. The marks for the courses were not spectacular. I think I just scraped a 2.1. But that was enough to be asked to stay on to do an MA. I declined because I already had a place to train to be a minister.

Looking back fifty years seems to be the theme this week. Over the weekend we shared in the celebration of our friends’ 50th (Golden) wedding anniversary. It was enjoyable to meet the family and other friends, and to catch up on news. Some of the family had come from Australia. The two sons and a daughter had been in primary school when we first met, and are now parents with children in their teens. We enjoyed a meal at an Italian restaurant, where we shared a table with other long standing friends – colleagues from school and ministry. The conversations flowed and covered such a wide range of topics.

There is so much to be thankful for, and so much still that needs to be done to bring about a society where all can have opportunities to learn, where children are cherished and friendships remain unbroken despite the passing years.

 

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