A couple of weeks ago I had the enormous pleasure of returning to Exeter University where I studied for my degree more years ago than seems possible. Getting involved with the uni again has been something I've long since wanted to do in an attempt to give back something to the institution to which I owe so much having been there to get good qualifications and not least met my wife there too! I think early on in a career it's not necessarily something I would have been particularly useful for since I was closer to the university than my working life in age, mentality and a bunch of other factors I'm sure. However, getting a bit older makes me feel readier to provide something tangibly useful in terms of giving something back both to the university and to the current students. I hope that having been there recently with work it's a relationship I can start to build up.
I should probably steer clear of saying exactly why we were there but there was a small team from work some of which I knew well such as @madieq and @andysc and one or two I hadn't come across before. Our job was to work with some academic staff for a couple of days and so it was a bit of a departure from my normal work with corporate customers. It's fantastic to see the university from the other side of the fence (i.e. not being a student) and hearing about some of the things going on there and seeing a university every bit as vibrant and ambitious as the one I left in 2000. Of course, there was the obligatory wining and dining in the evening which just went to make the experience all the more pleasurable.
I really hope to be able to talk a lot more about things we're doing with the university in the future. Until then, I'm looking forward to going back a little more often and potentially imparting some words (of wisdom?) to some students too.