Sunday, 10 September 2017

Life As and Open University Student - Why the OU

Photo by Tran Mau Tri Tam on Unsplash
As you may or may not be aware I am two years in to a six year course studying for a degree in International Studies with the Open University. If you are not aware aware of how the Open University works the basic premise is that you study for various qualifications from home part time for the most part fitting in study around your life and work.

Studying in this way allows me to continue to keep my full time job and work towards a qualification that I hope will open more doors for me in the future. When at the age of 26 I finally decided what direction I wanted to take my career in after seven years working in administration for both local and national government I knew that a degree in International Studies would be the best option for me. I looked at doing a degree part time at Leeds Beckett University but that would have meant that I would have to have dropped hours at my job to part time to accommodate this, I wasn't earning much at this point and the thought of taking a pay cut at that time in my life was not feasible I had bills to pay and life etc. so this was when I looked at the Open University.

I had heard of the Open University before and so I took a look at their website and low and behold there it was International Studies, as soon as I knew I could study part time from home and I could also keep working full time too it was a no brainer and I set about filling out all the necessary forms to get me started. I'm lucky in that the job I have is a Monday to Friday 9-5 kind of job so I can fit studying into my life pretty easily.

Because I had been out of full time study for a few years it was recommended that I do what they called an access course which would give me the credits I would need to study at degree level, now I'm not entirely sure how the credit system works but it made sense at the time. So I started my access course in the October of 2014 and finished in the May of 2015. I passed that course with a distinction which I was pretty happy about and I'm glad that I did this access course as it gave me a good idea of what to expect from learning with the Open University remotely talking to tutors over the phone or via email it was a good insight.

Since completing the access course I have completed two years of my actual study for my degree this is known as stage one and is the equivalent to one full year at a normal university. I have passed both these modules so far but as these two modules were compulsory and covered a very board subject area  for students that will go on to study Criminology, Psychology as well as my subject of International Studies I found it difficult to motivate myself to actually sit down and read and submit the assignments as these are areas that do not interest me whatsoever. Ill be completely honest I kind of winged it these past two modules putting in the bare minimum effort purely because I just wasn't interested in what they were trying to teach me.

I'm excited to start my next module this October with the module topic being International Development. This topic is definitely the kind of subject I want to get my teeth into so I'm hoping this will help keep me motivated to sit down and put the effort in.

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