Life with Open University

I've been studying with the Open University since October 3rd and I'm nearly half way through my access course which ends mid May and it's been a mixture of emotions on this journey.

I remember opening my box of goodies and being so excited to start. That brand new book smell lingered for a while on my desk, which was also new and was prepared for the hours of learning. The whole decision to start a course was very scary, I jumped in with both feet simply because I didn't want to allow myself the chance to chicken out. I wanted to see if I could still do it and see if I can build any future from doing this new adventure.
After being out of the studying/student circle for a few years I was unsure how I would do, I was very eager to find out too. Beginning something new always holds that novelty and somehow, because you chose this particular place to do the learning you find a way to maintain in the game. I find because it's part time it's probably a lot easier to deal with, but that's also because having a family, I have to fit it around what's happening with my boys. They always come first if something is needing to be done, but I have to say I think I've done okay at balancing it, in general.

One thing I've learnt from doing this course is time management, because for me if I don't have that, everything falls apart and I get so I feel stressed, because I want to do the best I can. I overthink and analyse every word I write down and beat myself up if it's not sounding how I want it to - but I think that's to do with personal satisfaction and wanting to know you're doing just right. I've found I have to begin writing an assignment long before it's due because I like to think on it and come back to it, make sure it sounds right and I'm happy with it - I'm not a last minute person (regarding that anyway!).
Studying is simply what you make of it, you can learn as much as you can or focus on the parts that are necessary to pass the particular assignment, I've been a mixture of the two depending on my understanding of the topic. You find yourself having to think differently to how you do in everyday life, your writing style has to be proper and there's so many little things that build up the big picture, like the lingo, there's lingo for pretty much everything which can get confusing but somehow you find your best way of working through - writing notes, spider diagrams and graphs.

It'd be far from the truth if I didn't say that I've struggled at times with motivation, work load and family life. I found myself really close to wanting to just stop but after a talk with my tutor, friend and a pep talk with my miserable self I realised there's no point in just giving up because I'm nearly there - only 5 months and I've completed something I never really thought I'd probably have the guts to do. I've overcome that obstacle and managed to sit down and write a list of what I needed to do - I found I wasn't really all that far behind. It was me trying to be a perfectionist and getting emotional about all the things I 'missed' because of feeling like I wasn't doing enough. In all honestly, I think it was just a bad few days where I felt tired, behind and like I wasn't really present in family life. I now have written up a rota of what gets done on what day and I feel so much better about it!

I can do it and I still am doing it, my results have been 72% & 58% on both my assignments and I'm really pleased with myself. They're better than I thought they'd be, because I'm starting to figure out how to gather the material and putting it together.
I've found I don't really like analysing poetry - I find it a little bit tedious. And political speeches aren't really my thing, but I understand all the work and I can write it down - I feel like a proper student saying that. Moaning about a crappy assignment piece ;) Parts of the course weren't like what I was hoping it to be (Creative Writing Optional Elements), but I think some of that may be due to looking forward to it and not amounting to what I thought it'd be which was a little disappointing.

My tutor has been pretty supportive in all things, making me realise that I'm doing well, and finding what works best for me. I find it easier to talk to her during tutorials than emailing as we can talk through things easier and discuss the little things that don't make sense, which I think gets missed in translation through emails. It's almost like having a friend who you can call to just natter about what's bothering you and discussing it as long as you need to, to be able to understand it fully - sometimes it really helps to have another perspective!

So at the moment there's been a mixture of thoughts - I'll never regret beginning the course as I wanted something for myself, I wanted to push myself and see where I can go and in that regard I've surprised myself. I've learnt and understood words, meanings and translations a lot better than I thought would be possible. I've learnt how to manage my time and get the most out of what I want from all of this. It's been a really interesting time despite losing some motivation a couple of weeks ago, but I feel I've done good and I'm looking forward to seeing future results. I will probably update you later along the line before I complete to see how things have changed, but I'm glad I haven't given up.


  1. You are doing so well. Time management is definitely key, isn't it, with balancing everything else? I am a last minute kind of person so as I'm working ahead of schedule and need to maintain that, it means I submit my TMA's a week or two in advance which is great, but sometimes I need to feel a bit more pressure! Keep going, you are doing it! x

    1. Thank you Jocelyn! It really is, I had such a wobble a couple of weeks ago and it really felt awful, I'm just so glad I didn't chuck it in as I think I might've regretted it now, especially so close.
      Oh are you? that's brilliant though, means you're definitely putting enough time into it - well done you! xx

  2. Aww I cannot say how pleased I am and to be honest you are an inspiration - I want to retrain and it is one of those parts when I think, when is the best time to start what with baby being due an all but my study will be 4 years before in total but maybe I will look at ou and see what other routes could be available :-).

    I can't wait to celebrate with you when you pass :-) xxx

    1. That's really kind Traci and I'm sure you'll find time once the girls have grown a little! It's hard fitting it in sometimes but knowing I haven't long left keeps me focused for now! You really should look at the OU, they do so many courses in all sorts of things, I'm sure you could find something :)
      Aww bless you - drinks all round! xx

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