I wouldn't change a thing, despite never achieving my childhood ambition of becoming an airline pilot. The 'cunning plan' was to learn to fly during my National Service in the RAF, stay on for a few years and then join BOAC or BEA. But it didn't work out like that ... During my secondary education the eyesight fell below aircrew standards and I took the view that if I couldn't fly, I would go to university instead and get an engineering degree. And then National Service was abolished, so having qualified as a civil/structural engineer, I became one, as the best option.
Jobs were there for the taking, at a time when only 5% of the population had degrees, and I was never out of work. A fascinating range of projects with highly specialised consultants followed, based mainly in London but with overseas spells in interesting places on generous expenses.
No, the boyhood dream was never realised, but no regrets, I had a great time. I fear that youngsters nowadays have a much tougher time obtaining a degree and a job afterwards, with high tuition fees and little chance of subsistence grants (my uni time was free), then having to compete in a jobs market saturated with rather too many graduates.
able to find the square root of the speed of light by using nothing more than the back of a cigarette packet and a pencil. Ooooooooooooooo fcuk!
You were cheated by what is now laughingly called "education".
That calculation is not a "pilot v graduate" division; if you know the "tables" it is not difficult. The "square root with pencil only" (cigarettes and their packets were unthinkable, save for the hard men of thirteen or so behind the lavatories) was routine in Form 1 (for the twelve-year old) mathematics in my school in 1946. I can still do it, but I once had an honours maths graduate in my 1970s group to whom it was a mystery.
It was always thus, it seems. In the books I should have read, I now see that Samuel Pepys decided to improve his skills through daily meetings with navigators at the Admiralty. He would learn some mathematics from these clever chaps: Good!: Stage 1: "Learn the multiplication tables, one to twelve"!. I had had the impression he was thinking of calculus or such.
We had the tables all wrapped up by Primary 3 or so, for the ten-year-olds, as I recall, in the village school, under the eagle eyes of Miss S...... and the "strap" of Miss M......., 1943, and the administration of Midlothian County Council. We managed with slates and the now unspeakable "rote". Worked just fine. We all now know this as an "incentive plan".
Alpine: probably not! When I went on to the modestly exclusine high school we had French, not by "look and say" or "the computer", but by the more or less "terror" or "clip up the side of the head" method. The word
"aujourd'hui" is impressed forever in my memory.
By the time Mr M..... go round the class to my turn I had picked up "aujourd'hui" in perfection from previous urchins. Odd thing may be, I rather liked the Misses S and M, and Mr M.
Miss S, long since Mrs R with her adult son visited us in Canada a few years ago, she then in her 90s.
I still know by heart reams of Psalms, Paraphrases, UK geography, unusual spellings, and the like learned from her; and from Mr M I passed the "Other Official Language" test in the Public Service, thirty years later, here to Level 3.
After they built the St Lawrence Seaway, "authority" assembled typical buildings from submerged municipalities and villages: Inn, Lutheran Church, Blacksmith shop, and so on, a rebuilt them into "Upper Canada Village". The "local school" from 1890 or so (I go by memory) still preserves tests at the 12-year old level. I'd be embarrassed to submit to them today.
Life's hiccups would probably be the same, more (better) education may have resulted in more money now, but would I be any happier? Probably not :-) I'm sure the waves would still be as wavey, Mam Tor still as difficult to climb, and the wife would look the same.
Slogged me 'rse off in the 90's +., made enough dosh to learn to fly and bimble around Winter Hill in a Cessna-t'was only for a bit of fun, had a mate who's ambition was to learn to fly, do some commercial stuff, retire, then bimble around Winter Hill in a Cessna.
In the Scottish schools I attended, GC, corporal punishment was intended to, and did, inflict pain, and not for the sexual titillation at the time or later of either the pupil or the pervert master who might well become, as at least one English exponent did, Archbishop of Canterbury.
.............I would not have broken my toe emulating a goal from "Match of the Day", thus not making the school excursion the next day and keeping my promised rendezvous with the delightful Debbie Woods......
If I had my time again, I would start some 10 years earlier. I would be more interested in the Sciences (but keep my present experience, too). Otherwise it's been quite bearable generally, and often enjoyable even.
I see people here complaining about eyesight...well there are ways of fixing things...even 30 years ago
sevenstrokeroll, try 56 years ago, when shortsightedness was only overcome by spectacles, and military and commercial flying were thus ruled out. I wasn't complaining at all, I simply made an ambition change. Would probably have made a lousy airline pilot anyway, and the career I did follow enabled me to afford private flying lessons.