My Struggles with Camembert


Today my mojo returned. I’m not sure where it has been for the past 6 months – possibly running a pop-up beard trimming shop in Papua New Guinea – but I won’t question it. I’ll just accept the fact that, for now anyway, it has returned. I’m not sure why it left me in the first place, but I have a theory it’s something to do with camembert. Let me explain:

A few years ago, I discovered camembert. As a lifelong lover of cheese this, admittedly, was a rather late discovery to make, but there you go. What’s life for if not for discovering new things? For a while, I devoured it at every opportunity, and the zenith of my camembert – love came when my partner encased a wheel of it in pastry and baked it. The resulting cheese pie was so unbelievably tasty, I all but inhaled it in 5 minutes flat.

Then something odd happened. The thought of eating camembert suddenly made me feel queasy. I had overdone it, and made myself sick of it. So much so, that I still can’t go near this particular breed of cheese without my stomach roiling in protest.

The same thing happened with my love of learning technology. After almost a decade of addiction to all things TEL-based, I lost interest. I think I may well have burnt myself out a little too – I found myself getting snappy with people who wanted me to help them and just felt so completely and utterly bored with anything to do with technology and education. I lost patience with people who couldn’t insert videos into their PowerPoint presentations, and remember getting quite snippy with one person who said that they didn’t like using technology. “Well, ten years ago you could have got away with saying that!” I remember ranting. “But nowadays, saying that you don’t use technology is the same as saying you don’t like using the number 2.” What a smug idiot I was. And yet, at odds with this, I was longing to run away to a wooden cabin in the Highlands with a suitcase full of books and no internet connection. I abandoned this very blog because I couldn’t think of anything to write about, stopped Tweeting because I couldn’t be bothered with it, and Facebook updates became (and are still) infrequent to the point of being non-existent. The only technology I had any interest in was Fallout 4 on my PS4.

I successfully managed to cock up my Masters dissertation too. This was something I had worked diligently towards accomplishing for almost 5 years, yet when it got to the dissertation stage, I just churned out 20, 000 words with as much interest as if I were writing a shopping list. I knew it was rubbish as I wrote it, and was aware of exactly where it had all gone wrong as soon as I’d finished, yet rather than proofreading and tweaking it in order to bring it up to standard, I just wanted the whole thing out of the way, so published it and sent it off knowing without a doubt that it was a fail. And when I got official notification that it HAD failed, I shrugged my shoulders and realised that I didn’t even care.

Had this happened in the middle of the year, when there is usually no let up in sight, I may well have done something daft like quit my job. Thankfully, Christmas intervened, and I enjoyed a couple of technology-free weeks at home. And this week, after switching on my office machine and logging into the university network,  I felt the first stirrings of renewed interest. So this is why I’m writing my first blog post in five months. FIVE MONTHS!!!

Later on today I’ll be delivering a seminar to academic staff about the benefits of Open Educational Resources, and I’m actually looking forward to it. Take a look at it here:

Later on this week, I’m going to have a play with Sway and Office Mix to see what they have to offer. These are just two applications I’ve been aware of for several months but have had no interest in playing with, until now.

Oh, and I’m also going to resubmit my dissertation, after giving it the attention it deserves. And this time, I swear to God…it’s going to be a pass!

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