Taking Time To Reflect

Peter Northwood

Alumnus Peter Northwood (Business Studies, Bowland, 2006) tells how a recent trip back to his alma mater helped him reflect on how his University years and how his degree has impacted on his career and happiness.

"A recent visit to Bailrigg waiting for my sister’s wedding gave me the opportunity to walk around campus for the first time in around a decade and first time on my own. I had questioned my university life, what it meant to me, in life and career and to visit, 20 years to the day (just about) from moving in to Bowland Main, I can thank my sister for the serendipitous timing.

Familiar but different is the campus. What had moved, what had grown, what remained the same.

I saw a couple walking near George Fox, Dr Wendy Beekes, a lecturer I remembered, with her husband, Dr Kwok Tong Soo. We talked about the Management School’s growth and redevelopment (the facilities are wonderful and worth a visit) and the last 17 years since I completed my course, Business Studies, in 2006.

I would describe myself as spectacularly ordinary and at times not worthy of winning or success, yet the conversation was a tonic I never knew I needed and their counsel valuable. Success and happiness is what we make and measure for ourselves. My course was strong in breadth rather than depth, my classification summed me up in that way, a 2.2. Breadth though has advantages.

I work for the NHS Business Services Authority in Pensions, a Subject Matter Expert in Data. Scheme Regulations, IT, training, coaching, mentoring, customer service that interacts with every part of the massive NHS Pension Scheme, colleagues, members, NHS employers. How broad can you get? 16 years in from Administrator to Senior to “SME” and who knows what in the future, the joy in connecting with, advocating for, developing customers and colleagues, never gets old. An organisational Energetic Award, recognising determination, willingness to grow to be their best and take others with them, in 2022. Winner, me, in an organisation of thousands? Never saw that coming!

Beyond work, that confidence has taken me to tennis club volunteering roles on and off court, playing competitively on the Fylde Coast, charity work for Trinity Hospice in Blackpool with colleagues raising over ?2,000 in a couple of years, walking in fetching neon green wigs for those departed and abseiling down the Trafford Palazzo in Manchester.

My return to Lancaster has made me think, there could be current students like me, past alumni like me, who need to hear, your classification is only the start of your story. Your impacts are meaningful, connections enriching, so if you find yourself down, reach out, rekindle, or take a chance a make something new. Just don’t stop growing - my Mum is taking piano lessons at age 70.

Lancaster, I won’t leave it so long next time to visit. Thank you for reminding me of my strengths, of what I can do."

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