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Becca

5 years later...!

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Edited by Becca Strachan, Sunday, 2 Oct 2022, 20:09

Since my last post I have...
- completed level 2, with a distinction for both modules! 🏆
- left the police as it was terrible for my mental health! I now work in tech/configuration 💻
- quit ballet (I passed the intermediate foundation exam! But my ankle flexibility was too poor to continue any further as the pointework would be too dangerous for me) 🩰
- found a new passion in aerial hoop! 🤸‍♀️
- bought a house and 2 very fluffy cats! 😻

After a 3 year break I'm just beginning my level 3 studies with DD310 - combining my interests in people, in mental health, in criminality/policing, and the intersections between them (particularly the overrepresentation of PDs in prison, and the general poor understanding, stigma, and difficulties of treating PDs). I'm nervous about the assignments but I'll do my best to get good grades for my first level 3 module!

I don't need to choose my dissertation topic yet, but I am currently leaning towards something relating to mental health in prison populations. A local councillor often stops by my house to say hello when he's out on his walk - when I mentioned resuming my studies to him, he told me he could get me into Broadmoor, if I wanted! Once I have a solid dissertation idea, I may take him up on that offer.

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Becca

Day School, and words of inspiration from facebook!

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I went to the first tutorial of the academic year - a day school which introduced the topics in the first text book for DD210. I am particularly looking forward to block 2, which I am about to move on to (as I'm a little ahead). The block 1 talk was a useful recap of the work I've already done (as I've just finished week 5), and I was able to correct a point about the diagnosis of psychopathy not being self-assessed but rather being a clinical judgement made by a psychiatrist based on Bob Hare's 20 point checklist (I really enjoyed week 4, which was all about psychopathy and autism, can you tell!?).

I have decided not to start TMA01 until I've done the online tutorial for it (saves me getting it wrong and re-writing it after the tutorial!) so I'm just going to continue ahead with the reading and online material for block 2 and come back to TMA01 later smile

On a completely unrelated note, I just read a lovely comment on an OU facebook group and it really resonated with me, so I wanted to record it here:

"I read a book about medical practice early in the Great War. A senior surgeon went to the field hospitals at his own expense to help out. While the younger surgeons rattled through dozens of operations a day, whipping off limbs willy-nilly, this older chap only managed 2 or 3 operations each day.

After some miserable weeks he confessed to his colleagues he would have to return home as he wasn't up to it. He was told "You are doing the cases we don't know how to do and have not the time to attempt. You are saving the men we would leave to die. We cannot let you go."

Even experienced people saving lives feel the way you do in a new environment. If you weren't there, none of your work would be done."

New challenges, new topics, new environments and new people can all be challenging. That isn't bad, the experience isn't unique, and it doesn't mean that you don't belong there. A researcher in one of the week 5 videos put it nicely, that everything you do changes the world, and also your understanding of it. So just keep acting, learning, growing, understanding. And eventually a world that feels alien and intimidating may eventually become a world you feel confident and competent in smile

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Updates! Starting DD210 and taking up ballet, because who needs sleep anyway!? :D

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Edited by Becca Strachan, Thursday, 14 Sep 2017, 11:41

Long time no post! :O

Okay so the 2nd half of the year was absolutely MANIC, I landed a new job at work and had to go off to a residential training course for 6 weeks (during which period I had 4 TMAs and 2 iCMAs due in!!!) so all hell broke loose, but I MADE IT!!



I passed both DD102 and DE100 (with a distinction for DD102, which I was pretty darn chuffed with!) and I'm happy to report that I'm moving onwards and upwards to level 2!!

My first level 2 module DD210 starts on Oct 7th, and I have had a nose around and gone through the introductory week section because the module website opened today and I like getting ahead because (as illustrated above!) the unexpected happens and it's good to be prepared. It looks well organised and structured (which my slight OCD tendencies like a lot, I know exactly what to expect!) and there are several topics of personal relevance and interest to me so I think it should be really good :D

Outside of my OU studies, after my EMAs were done and dusted I finally got back into dance, which I'm really excited about. Due to just being pretty wiped out by work I stopped dancing several years ago and have felt kind of sluggish and lethargic ever since. I used to pole dance and figure skate to quite a high level back in the day, and I decided to take up ballet in May of this year. I've taken a few ballet classes before, but never really studied it formally.
However! I'm now working on the RAD Intermediate Foundation syllabus and my teacher actually wants to put me in for the exam with the rest of the class in March 2018 (they are all about 15 because this is a vocational grade, I don't think adults normally do them but I'm gonna do it anyway in spite of the fact I'm 30 next year!). I also got back into modelling more recently (something else I used to do a lot), and actually combined the two recently by doing a dance themed shoot which was a tonne of fun smile (I'm in the white tutu!)


I'm also still slowly working away at my debut album (I'll get there one day!) so it's all going on this year, but I'm happy and enthusiastic and excited about all of it - I'm sure I'll find the time somehow! I'm a woman on a mission haha. Bring on 2017-18!!!

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DE100 OUPS Study Weekend 2017

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I know I'm a student as I sit here at my laptop participating in an online tutorial, but there's just something more student-y about going to lectures with other students, isn't there? I went to Warwick for the DE100 consolidation weekend and had a really good time with the other students and professors there! I learned a lot and got to meet a lot of really lovely people from all over the UK, including students working on stages 1, 2 and 3. If you're considering going to one of these events I would wholeheartedly recommend it!!

I started to see where I could go with my studies, developed some new aims and ambitions, made some contacts, and am even working on an idea that I want to investigate just out of personal interest. Once I'm all done with my modules for this year I think I will run a little pilot (assuming I get the appropriate permissions) in order to apply my new learning smile I have more direction, more confidence, and more enthusiasm (even for methods and statistics, which I was a little intimidated by at first!), so a big thank you to the organisers, to the new friends I've made, and especially to the lecturers!

I've also realised that the end of January marks the half-way point!! I'm halfway through year 1 already. Hopefully the second half will go as well as the first half! :D

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Ethics: Truth vs Humanity?

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Those poor, helpless little baby monkeys. Harlow strikes me as a pretty heartless and cruel chap, who didn't give the slightest hint of a damn about the suffering he inflicted on all of those animals. I want to be angry with him, to resent him, to believe that he shouldn't have done it.

But if he hadn't - we may still be oblivious to the concepts of attachment, or at least, have no real scientific evidence that pointed to the validity of the idea. We may still have believed that we should emotionally distance ourselves from our children, and we may have continued to downplay the importance of those early bonds for our later ability to function socially.

So perhaps... we need people who don't care for other beings. Perhaps we need people who, whether through rationalising or simply the lack of conscience, don't feel guilty for inflicting suffering on others. Who don't care for the ever more rigorous constraints of ethical guidelines.

If the choice is between human decency and the truth, what should we choose? Does the end justify the means?

I'm somewhat worried that this line of thought will lead to me being some kind of psych-student super-villain some 10 years down the line. At least if that happens, I hope that I discover something truly ground-breaking and important before my status is revoked tongueout

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Becca

Long time no post!

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Hello again smile I've had 3 assignments back now - two for DD102 and one for DE100! I'm happy to report that I've passed everything so far and actually got some really good results! For my 2nd TMA for DD102 I scored 95%, which I was absolutely over the moon about :D I just submitted TMA02 for DE100 (due Dec 20th) and I've written my first draft of TMA 03 for DD102 (due Jan 12th). I'm 2 months in and I'm still managing to keep on top of the dual module situation, it's going well smile

Honestly it's pretty intense but it is interesting as well, and very relatable to aspects of my work and other everyday experiences. I've managed to get to several face-to-face tutorials which have been good fun and very useful - I feel a bit less of a lone student when I'm at a tutorial! My tutors for both modules have given detailed feedback on my TMAs as well, which I'm hoping will help me to keep achieving well on the assignments.

I've decided which optional courses I want to do for 2nd stage and (being the eager beaver I am) I've bought the course books second hand off students who've recently finished them. In the gap between stage 1 and stage 2 (there's a long old summer break!) I'm hoping to get a head start on reading the books, so that I have an easier time when I get into it for real.

I'm still undecided on whether to attempt all of stage 2 in a year, I worry I might burn out if I try to do 2 consecutive years of full time study and full time work. Unfortunately none of the modules I want to do have a February start so I either have to go for everything at once or take an extra year to do it. If I make good progress with the books I've picked up I'll be in a much stronger position to try it at least. I still have a good few months to think about it. We'll see. smile

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I've submitted my first ever TMA!

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Edited by Becca Strachan, Thursday, 20 Oct 2016, 23:30

I submitted TMA01 for both DD102 and DE100, and now have to wait to see how I did. I'm nervous but hopeful, and even if I don't do as well as I want to I will get feedback on how to do better for the next one. Both were very short and low weighted assignments so I'm not going to stress out over them as I've done all I can smile

We're about to go into week 4 (officially/on the planner) and in the weeks since my last post I have brought my progress on DE100 up to the end of week 7 (the point I'd reached with DD102 at the beginning of the month). I haven't studied DD102 for a few weeks now but I'm going to jump back in and read another chapter tomorrow since I have the day off work!

I'm looking forward to TMA02 for DE100. I had already read about Milgram earlier in the year so I was pretty familiar with his study, but I found the videos of him talking about his own research particularly interesting. It was really useful to see the actual footage of the experiment, along with his observations, concerns, and conclusions about what he observed. I found his commentary really insightful and thought-provoking; the gap between people's expectation and the actual results says some interesting things about the complexity of human nature and behaviour.

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Tutor contact, TMAs and Future Plans

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Since my last post I have been allocated a tutor for DD102, and both of my tutors have been in touch with me. They both seem really nice, and have been very helpful in the midst of the tutorial chaos - I have tutorial dates in my diary for both modules (even though I can't book onto them on the system) so I have my life relatively organised for the next 2 months! :D

I have written and submitted TMA01 for DD102, and I've written a draft of TMA01 for DE100 (I'm going to hold fire until after the tutorial on 10/10 before submitting it, just to make sure I'm on track). I've written a draft of TMA02 for DD102 and hoping to get a draft of TMA02 done for DE100 by the end of October so that I can stay ahead.

Just because I think it'd be interesting to see if this changes over time, I've looked ahead at the stage 2 and 3 modules to see what I might like to do. At this moment in time... I think for my free choice modules I'd like to do D240 (Counselling: exploring fear and sadness) & SDK228 (The science of the mind: investigating mental health) for stage 2, and then DD310 (Counselling and forensic psychology: investigating crime and therapy) for stage 3. I have read a little about the biopsychosocial model before and would like to learn more about it, and I feel that the counselling and forensic elements would be useful to me at work smile I'm wondering whether I can manage to do all 3 stages in a year per stage? I'll have a conversation with my tutors about it towards the end of stage 1 and see how well I'm coping by then!

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Progress, Post-its, and a Promotion

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Edited by Becca Strachan, Saturday, 24 Sep 2016, 19:37

I still haven't received the DE100 books yet, but I found the PDF versions of the module textbooks for both DD102 and DE100! I've downloaded all of them and put them onto my iPad. Much more portable! It has enabled me to start DE100 and honestly... I was a little daunted at first as the workload seems higher, the reading takes me longer. But I think I'm learning well and picking up the new terms and concepts, which is encouraging. I really feel like a psychology student, now.

Today I went out and used my student discount haha, I bought a little whiteboard, more post-it notes, some index cards, and a weekly planner. I'm ready. Bring on the official module start!!

I've been assigned a tutor for DE100 already in spite of my late sign-up... still nothing on DD102 but I assume they'll sort it out soon! I think it's probably a very large module as obviously other social science subject degrees will also include it so perhaps they're struggling to divide up the students or something. I'm on like week 7 of that now so I'm pretty happy left to my own devices to be honest.

Workwise I interviewed for a position a band up from my current one and got offered the job more or less on the spot!! So I will be moving departments at some point in the next few weeks. I'm a bit worried about it as my travelling time is going to be longer, which will eat into my study time. I'm hoping that if I get far enough ahead I can keep myself ahead of schedule and still fit my study time in in spite of the extra driving etc.

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Impatience is a virtue...?

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After my last post, I joined a Facebook group for students on my module (DD102 - Introducing the Social Sciences). I found that quite a lot of them were studying full time in spite of working full time. "It must be possible, then," I thought. Some of them have kids and work full time, and are still doing 2 modules!

So I bit the bullet on the final deadline for enrolling on October modules. I added DE100 to the mix. I kind of wish I'd done it earlier because now I have no idea how long it will take for them to post out the course materials, and may hold me up in getting a tutor. But that's okay, I'll keep steaming ahead with DD102 so that when everything arrives I won't have trouble keeping up.

I officially start 2 weeks today, so I'm technically already ahead of schedule anyway. My wall calendar doesn't have enough stickers for all my assignments etc now that I have 2 modules, so I've created my own system to track them using different colours for the different subjects. I have no tutorials booked yet but when I do, they'll also be colour coded according to which subject they're for. I'm tracking my module progress on paper as well, so that I have a constant visual reminder of where I'm at and the progress I've made. Perhaps it will motivate me to work harder smile

My wall chart and module progress trackers

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Becca

A new identity: student

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I have assumed a lot of different identities over the years, often related to work, hobbies, associations, and interests. I've been a student before, several times. And yet there's still something alien about it. Something exciting. I've made what feels like a huge decision to take steps towards a goal, and becoming a student makes it feel much more real. 

I'm trying to make the most of my excitement and enthusiasm by throwing myself straight into the module content (ignoring the fact that I don't technically start until October 1st). I've studied at university level before for my CertHE so I'm pretty confident in my ability to study independently and don't really feel the need to wait for guidance. I think distance learning in this way is going to really suit me. 

I read the first chapter of the core textbook shortly after receiving it, and have now worked through the first 2 weeks' worth of material. In my excitement I've also started the first assignment, having watched the videos on the module website. I felt quite emotional watching John's story (the homeless man) - I've worked in police custody and often met people like him there. Everyone else was pretty cynical and used to make fun of me for being so soft (I often felt sorry for the detainees), but everyone has a story - a reason why they are where they are. 

I'm starting on the week 3 content this week, and reading chapter 2. I wonder if it's possible to go through the module at an accelerated pace? I might like to pick up another 60 credit module in January if so. I'd really like to do the whole year in the space of a year, in spite of working full time. I'll see how I go over the next few months, and talk to my tutor (once I get assigned one!). 

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Begin Again

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Edited by Becca Strachan, Friday, 9 Sep 2016, 11:09

"Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently." - Henry Ford

Life has been a confusing mess of wholly unpredictable experiences thus far. I'm loath to make long-term plans or have long-term goals as I feel like every time I do, the rug is sharply pulled from under my feet and I end up back at the start. With nothing left to do, but...

Dust myself off. Begin again. 


And yet here I am, 28 years old, and tentatively agreeing with myself that I'm finally going to do it. I'm going to do the degree in Psychology that I've been contemplating for several years now. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't apprehensive about it. And honestly I don't have the confidence to think about what I'll do with it, what I'll do next. 

Not yet. At least, not beyond this vague aim -

I hope to take all of the adventures and misadventures that have led me to this point, and make something meaningful out of them. To learn to understand myself, to understand others. To make something good out of everything bad. To create my own silver linings as I come to terms with the experiences I've had. To eventually help others to do the same.

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