I attended my first face to face tutorial last night. I was so nervous beforehand but really needn't have been. Six of us attended and to be honest just as nervous as I was. It was interesting to hear what everyone wants to do with their degrees once we've graduated, it was a real mix. There were a few historians, one wanted to study religion and myself who wants to do creative writing. Our tutor put us at ease and we talked through one of the chapters and had a brief discussion on essay writing and how the OU would like us to set them out, we touched on referencing, which is my biggest worry but as our tutor said essay means "to try", which is exactly what I am going to do. I left feeling happier that I have not made a big mistake and that through 'trying' I will develop and become better and, most of all, enjoy what I am doing.
I haven't done as much studying as I would like this past week. I attended a two day course with work on Coaching and Feedback with an overnight stay. It took me well out of my comfort zone. It was a mixture of listening to the facilitators and group work. I was ok about working with one other person but it was the 'Quad' group work that I really didn't like. Being watched by two observers as you have a coaching conversation with someone you have only just met is not nice for someone who is quite shy. In my head I was having the perfect conversation but it came out of my mouth as a jumbled mess of spaghetti. Good luck with untangling that.
Despite this hiccup the rest of the course was very enjoyable. In the evening I manged to connect to the Student Hub Live session on 'Understanding your Assessment Question'. using the hotels WI-FI. I came away with some useful resources on how to decipher the assessment question which, this being my first year of study, is harder than I thought. Getting to grips with the definitions and really understanding what the question is asking you is key. That is the biggest learning I took from it. Take time to read it through several times, read it out loud and write down the definitions of the process words. After the session it was straight down to the bar for a large glass of whiskey to relax and unwind.
Recently my mother-in-law asked me to take her to visit the burial place of her husband. He is buried in a natural burial ground nestled at the base of the South Downs. She is in her eighties and cannot get there easily on her own. It involves a bus journey and a hair-raising game of Frogger to get across the busy country road.
The day was perfect, a beautiful autumn day, bright blue cloudless sky. We sat on the bench by his tree enjoying the sun’s rays warming our faces and bodies. It was so peaceful sitting listening to the sounds of birds, the gentle breeze blowing through the trees and looking up to the windmills on top of the Downs. We sat in silence, each with our own thoughts.
I started thinking about how different it was to where my mum is buried. My mum was cremated and her remains interred in a church graveyard in an area reserved specifically for cremations. A simple plaque marks her resting place, she is in the corner of the graveyard at the bottom of a hill adjacent to where the bins are kept and the area is forgotten. Whenever I visit, I get despondent. Don’t get me wrong it is not an unpleasant place to be it just feels oppressive. She is hemmed into a corner, it’s dark, the tree branches hang down so low and brush against you as you walk over the uneven, cracked path that lead you down the hill past headstones marked with age. It feels gloomy and dark and my body reacts the same way. I hunch up my shoulders and draw my arms around myself as if to shield myself from death. The natural burial ground is more open and light, I can see the sky above, and I can breathe and relax.
Perhaps, I thought, my feelings are a reflection on how they died. Both died from cancer but their deaths could not have been more different. My mum’s, although expected, was full of fear, confusion and a certain degree of chaos. My father-in-law’s was peaceful, calm and dignified. Maybe I am manifesting my experiences of their deaths onto the way I feel about their final resting places. The human mind works in mysterious ways.
So my plans to start studying early were waylaid, work and family stuff got in the way. I now have a week off by myself, I've read through the Study Companion and I'm ready to start.
Reading Facebook messages about how far along some students are in their study has made me a little anxious. Some students have even started their first TMA!! On reflection though I realise that study is personal and other students will have different events going on in their lives which dictates when and how they can study. I've made my study planner and have it stuck to the fridge so my family knows when I am not to be disturbed.
I am going to use One Note primarily for taking notes electronically but will also use an ordinary notebook and pen. I use One Note at work for project work and my development goals. I find it easier to locate relevant information and I can insert hyperlinks, emails, PDF and word documents and you can title the tabs and sections how you want. I've even personalised it so that it looks like a real notebook with lines and a lovely cream paper look. I can have different sections for the four books that we will be studying from. I find it easier and quicker to type and my thoughts formulate better and if I think of something else later I can easily insert it into the right section. For TMA preparation I just copy and past any relevant information I think I need and print it out. I don't know how it will work with online study, perhaps I will get two screens.
Best get started on Chapter One....
So, I had planned on studying this weekend or at least looking through the books and devising a study planner. As with all good plans they never go the way you intended. Saturday my husband wanted to go out and looked upset when I told him I was going to study, he spent the best part of an hour moping around the house so, in the end, you guessed it, we went out. I did enjoy myself, it was a beautiful late summer day and we strolled through the Laines in Brighton window shopping ending up on the beach watching the world go by.
Sunday my youngest son flew home from America. He has been away for two months on a deployment with the RAF. We drove up to his base to take him for lunch, we had a lovely catch up and heard all about his time away. By the time I got home, having negotiated the M25 and the M23, I couldn't be bothered to do anything. So here I am, 7pm on a Sunday evening, glass of wine in one hand and surfing the internet looking at books and stationery. on Amazon.
Tomorrow I plan on studying.... watch this space.
I thought I would jump straight into this blog malarkey. I am about to start on a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. Six years of studying seems extremely daunting having left school in 1985. It seems a life time ago, Duran Duran and Wham were in the charts and I started my first job at Gatwick Airport.
My books have arrived and I have read the study companion from cover to cover. I will be using One Note to take notes, it is so easy to use you can insert webpages, links, record audio and video and best of all it saves automatically. I have it saved in the cloud so that I can easily access it from anywhere.
I read Doctor Faustus, which is part of the reading for AA100, over the summer and today I have booked to see it performed at The Globe Theatre in London in December. Only three months to wait! I'm very lucky to live so close to London. I've never been to the Globe Theatre, I have walked past it on numerous occasions and always wanted to go in and now I will be. I am a happy bunny.
This weekend I will be starting studying. I have no other plans so seems like a good time to get my head around what I have to do and put together a study plan. I'll let you know how it goes!!
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