A reflective guest blog from Mark Ogilvie, one of our MSc students on the Renewable Energy and the Built Environment (REBE) course.
I’ve now completed four residential weeks at CAT on the REBE MSc course, and it really feels like we’re getting into the meat of the course (albeit on a strictly vegetarian diet). The weeks are pretty intensive, with long days that feel like value for money. Some of the material feels familiar, much of it is entirely new to me, but it’s all extending my skills and knowledge at a rate of knots.
Indeed, the pace is the main thing I’ve had to get to grips with. I’m doing the course full-time, and this means keeping on top of deadlines – which in my case means dedicating long hours to the written tasks, while trying to make sure I allow enough time for reading.
People come to the REBE course from a disparate range of backgrounds, and this is one of the things I like about it. For the lecturers – all very expert – it must sometimes feel like herding cats, as they have to communicate advanced material to people with very different strengths and experiences.
I’m one of the older ones, maybe the oldest, on this year’s intake, and I’m using the course – as many do – to make some sort of a career transition. I had a first career in engineering, but have worked in marketing for most of my life. Surprisingly, much of the engineering knowledge is still there when I need it, and I think my marketing experience is useful in the commercial and presentational aspects of the course.
The hardest thing I’ve found is the level of rigour expected – particularly in essay writing and referencing, which I’ve never had to do before. I’m experienced in writing for business, but this is a different discipline, and I’m having to learn to adapt. But the support is there if you organise yourself to use it, so no complaints.
So it’s not easy. But when I’m struggling I try to remember why I signed up to the course – personal improvement was a big part of my reasoning, for sure, but at the heart of the decision was the feeling that it’s the right thing to do. I think the way we manage our energy resources and usage is one of the most critical things facing mankind. We all play a part in this, in the many choices we make every day – but I hope this course will help me do more than that. And if it does, then it will all have been worthwhile.
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