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Saint John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds

Anne-Marie Pickles - Report on my time in Ghana

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August 2001

Having just returned from spending the last six months in Ghana with the St. David’s (Africa) Trust, I can confidently say that it has been the most valuable and worthwhile experience of my life to date.

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two words diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made the difference.”

As I was approaching my final exams for my degree, I was aware of being unwittingly led down the path of interviews, assessment centres and careers fairs and something told me that I had to stop and take stock of what I really wanted to do with my life. Having spent the past nineteen years in academia, I thought I would explore my options, as the thought of being stuck in a job that I didn’t really care about was a frightening one.

I had several friends who had taken “years out” prior to coming to university and those who had gone to Africa particularly inspired me and so I began my search. I still doubted the wisdom of my decision to consciously “opt out” of the whole careers thing as I was surrounded by colleagues who were stressing about application deadlines and competing for limited graduate places in prestigious companies.

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Published Thu 6th Dec 2001 01:15:00

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