Return to Horticulture Hogwarts
I spent a big part of my time at vocational school pretending to be at Hogwarts. It was the only thing that made boarding school tolerable. And since our classroom was so cold, I actually started wearing my cloak around school…
And now I have returned. More than five years after getting my journeywoman’s certificate, I have started the classes to become a master horticulturist. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a couple of years, but the classes were never offered in my part of Austria. So as soon as they were, I jumped on the chance.
I’m almost done with my first winter of classes (winter being the time when horticulturists generally have the most free time, that’s when the classes are offered). I’ve finished Business Management, Law and Agricultural Policy and Horticultural Basics (although I still have to take the exams in the latter two), and will take the Apprentice Instructor class in a couple of weeks.
It’s a whole lot more fun than school has ever been before. Being surrounded by people who are all passionate about plants, people who all want to learn, is so much more enjoyable than sharing a classroom with two dozen people who are only there because they have to be, and it’s nice to be actually challenged, after so many years of constantly waiting for my classmates to catch up. Being surrounded by people of all ages (from 19 to 50-something), from all kinds of backgrounds, without the conflicts that created in vocational school (Hogwarts may have Houses, we had people who grew flowers, vegetables or trees. Same thing.) And, all of us being adults, being on an even playing field with the teachers.
It’s not all perfect – so much is badly organised, some classes are dreadfully boring, some teachers are just plain dreadful, but overall, it’s so much fun.
It has also shown me how far I’ve come in those few years since vocational school – I’m so much less shy. No more sitting in the corner not talking to anyone, as I did for most of my time in school. Between talking to people online and talking to customers at work, somehow I’ve lost most of my fear of talking to people. Not all of it, but enough that I can chat with my classmates or speak up if I don’t agree with what someone says (no matter if that someone is a classmate or the headmaster). It’s so… freeing, and a large part of what makes this so much more enjoyable than school has ever been before.
But I also know myself well enough to recognise when my introvert brain needs time to rest, and to go away to my corner (oh yes, I still have my corner) to sit by myself and read instead of talking to people. Even if talking is fun, and making connections is important (that’s something I still have more trouble with, forming lasting connections with people… I suppose I should visit a couple of those plant nurseries where they work. Some of them sound like interesting places.), keeping myself sane is more important. If I wear myself out talking to people, I’ll just be grumpy, and unable to pay attention in the next class, and I’m so glad I’ve learned to recognise this early enough.
(And while writing this post, WordPress wished me a happy anniversary – apparently I registered five years ago! Happy birthday to my blog, then!)