Ken Weighand stresses the importance of work/life balance whilst studying, and looks back on first encounters with computers in the 1980s
|Degree Course||MA (Gen)|
|Year of Graduation||1987|
Your time at the University
As I was from Edinburgh, but had grown up elsewhere, going to the University was a bit like going home and of course it was a great city and University to be in. I stayed in Lee House in Pollock Halls and remember various parties, charity events (including the float parade along Princes Street) and a particular skiing trip in first year (probably best not to go into detail).
The traditional Friday night “happy hour” in the refectory followed by a mass march to Teviot brings back memories - seem to recall we started in the “sportsman’s bar” among the various flashing pinball tables and video games machines, migrated through the darkness of the “park room” and then up to the debating hall where the main disco and its awesome light display were located.
Quite a few of the lecturers stand out. I’m reminded of the fearsome Dory Scaltsas (who was a sort of Jeremy Paxman of the Philosophy Department). I remember doing “Information Systems” as an outside Science subject and getting printed notes covering the lecture subject (a luxury for an Arts Student!). There was a central computer network called EMAS, I think, which lived somewhere in the bowels of Appleton Tower and my course tutor was a long suffering post grad called Colin Stirling who had to explain the mysteries of “prolog” to us. He deserved a medal but I’m told he got a Chair.
In particular though I remember doing American History (quite by chance) and two great tutors in Dr Alan F Day and the fantastic Owen Dudley Edwards. I recall Owen’s unique method of marking essays by reading them out in front of you and asking you to justify what you had written. Quite terrifying but a good discipline. Students were fairly politicised at the time and I remember a hundred black balloons being released in the Old College Quad to protest at education cut-backs and Potterrow being renamed
The Mandela Centre. Football commentator Archie Macpherson was also voted in as Rector so it wasn’t all serious.
Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University
Since leaving University I’ve worked exclusively in TV and Radio. I started off in commercial radio working initially in Edinburgh for Radio Forth as a journalist and subsequently at Radio Clyde, Classic FM,LBC, Talk Radio,IRN, Reuters and BBC Radios 2, 3 and 4. I now work as a Network Director and Announcer for BBC TV in Scotland co-ordinating and transmitting all the programmes across the BBC schedules on BBC 1, 2 and ALBA.
The traditional Friday night “happy hour” in the refectory followed by a mass march to Teviot brings back memories...
As a reporter I’ve been involved in everything from the Lockerbie disaster to the Edinburgh Festival and although my degree was not specific the areas I studied have definitely helped in shaping my analytical skills, my ability to ask questions and think laterally.
It also allowed me to develop my interest in red wine (fundamental for any journalist). As a Network Director I now deal with a large amount of computer play out equipment. It’s come on a bit since my days studying Information Systems when an upstart company called Apple had just unveiled it’s first Mackintosh (to much scepticism I seem to remember).
Try to make as much of your time at University as you can and make sure you have a healthy work/life balance. It’s a unique period of your life and as the song goes - enjoy yourself it’s later than you think.