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Tricia Johansson

How I gently got myself back into studying at University

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Edited by Tricia Johansson, Friday, 2 Feb 2024, 16:12

I have changed my qualifications from Classical studies and Philosophy to an Open Degree in Psychology and Language studies. I wanted to do something I'm more familiar with. I'm studying at Open University, and I like it so far, although I'm in the first stage of my bachelor's.

Since my education was delayed due to mental illness and my disabilities, I decided that the "last" option was distance learning. Imagine my surprise when I found out that it was so much easier than regular on-campus studies with much harsher routines, which was what I was used to. Used to fail, I mean. Now I feel what studying is supposed to be feeling; rewarding and exciting. Sure, there are expectations and a schedule, but it shouldn't be all about stress and feeling like a failure. Being at the edge of burnout shouldn't be normal.

My story contains abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence and so much more. I also have childhood trauma. I hated school growing up. I was a generic student, but I never studied. I skipped classes a lot. I thought that I was just stupid, but later my psychologist pointed out that I actually was more logically advanced than most people in my age group and that I certainly wasn't stupid. I was above the average, so it was hard for me to study due to my autistic traits and not to the act of learning itself. I hated all the noise in classrooms, I hated the light in classrooms - it was too bright for my eyes! I hated to be asked questions and talk in front of people. And all the group work and discussions... it was plain torture for a socially awkward, silent autistic kid such as myself.

So what did I like? I liked reading and writing. I actually enjoyed learning, but on my own terms and at my own pace. I loved researching topics I enjoyed. I loved learning but hated the school environment.

A few years ago there wasn't much distance learning around, and certainly not in Sweden, where I live. When I found Open University I also found hope! Maybe I am able? Maybe I'm not just disabled at everything? It comes self-esteem with studying and succeeding in our academic careers. I had none of that before I studied first at a vocational training in Gothenburg, Sweden, and now with OU.

I know I'm not the only one either.

Most of the people in my family aren't highly educated. I want to aim high because I can and I want to, not because I should. I've always dreamed of going to grad school and researching in the field of psychology. I've always dreamed of being able to study for a higher education. Now I'm there.

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Tricia Johansson

My introduction: a little bit of my education and story!

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Edited by Tricia Johansson, Wednesday, 16 Aug 2023, 17:34

Hello all students and everyone else reading this post! It feels like a huge thing writing here to be honest...

As this is my first blog post (I really think it's a cool thing that we can document our journey's here, as well as participating in discussions with fellow students!) I think now is a good time to introduce myself.

An introduction

I'm Tricia Johansson and I’ve just got accepted into The Open University for studying Arts and Humanities focusing on Philosophy - R14 BA (Hons) Arts and Humanities (Philosophy). I'm starting my first year in October 2023, although I studied Theology at a Christian College (seminary) before I decided that I wanted to go a more classical philosophical route and study various disciplines in philosophy (not only Christian Theology) as well as classical Latin and Creative Writing. 

I'm studying for professional certification in Music Theory and Composition at Berklee College of Music Online in the fall of 2023, starting in September. So I combine Berklee and Open University for the first semester of my studies.

* * *

My dream is to establish myself as a writer and/or author. I'm also a content creator focusing on video creation since that format combines all of my current interests which are music making, narrative storytelling, personal development in philosophy, and digital art in various forms such as illustration and animation. It's also a good opportunity for me to practice my English speech. I'm on youtube under the name Trix Joyce (which is just like a "stage name" online), I also have my own website and a blog as well.

I'm a lifelong learner. My goal with my studies at The Open University is first my bachelor's degree, and if I feel like I'm able to I really want to study my master's in Philosophy as well!

* * *

I think a benefit that actually helps me a lot in my productivity is my autism. Yes, I'm autistic. Sometimes it can be disabling, for example when I'm asked to work a full-time job. But studying has never been an issue for me. Doing Youtube and freelancing with other creative work as a side project has never been an issue either, since I then can "choose" my work hours and can take breaks whenever I want. I have my schedule and it's always packed with a lot of projects each day which I honestly love! It has to be customized for me though, because of my autism. It's not a matter of entitlement, it's a matter of functioning differently!

A photo of me, Tricia.

My qualifications so far

Here is a little list (just some excerpts though!) of what I've been doing before studying at The Open University:
+ Theology at Christian Leaders College/Seminary - I studied for an Associate's in Divinity (distance learning).
+ Behavioral Sciences at Cady Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden - Certificate, part of a vocational degree.
+ Social Education at Distansinstitutet in Stockholm, Sweden - Diploma of Higher Education in a vocational training program (distance learning)
+ Life Coaching at Transformation Academy - Certificate, part of a vocational training program (distance learning).
+ Traditional Illustration at Forsbergs School in Stockholm - Diploma of Higher Education.

* * *

I never finished high school but managed to get an equivalent certificate of my knowledge, which opened up the doors of higher education for me. The reasons I didn't finish high school were due to health problems, and not because of my actual study habits. I've always been a good student and I never had any difficulties solely with the learning itself. It was more so the social environment and sensory processing and things of that sort. I also have a history of abuse both growing up and as an adult as well. So my education was put on hold for a very long time, and I didn't finish the high school equivalent certificate until I was 26. Now at almost 31 I'm aiming for a degree, and let me tell you; it's never too late. University is never too late!

* * *

I wish everyone here a great term and I hope you're enjoying your studies!


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