I feel like I only just wrote one of these, but I’ve checked and it really has been one whole entire week since the last post…and what a miserable week it’s been.
This week’s studying was dedicated almost exclusively to mathematics. Now, I quite like a bit of maths. Nothing too intense, but sort of GCSE level maths, I dig it. I like order, and rules and things that make sense. So a week’s worth of maths lessons isn’t something that should inherently upset me. However.
As you may, or indeed may not, know, I am currently studying an Access to Sciences course. If you don’t know what that means, it’s a course designed to help people who haven’t studied in a long while to prepare for study at the university level. Which means getting back to basics. Which means that this week, I learned how to use a number line.
Something else you might not know about me. I used to be a teaching assistant in a primary school, and I took maths for my A-Levels. I used to teach number lines to kids aged 5-11. I won’t lie, it was a little humiliating, I am trying to be charitable and remind myself that some peoples maths skills are not as sharp as mine, but it leads me to one of two conclusions. Either my degree is going to be absolutely child’s play when it comes to maths OR the poor folks who are just now learning about number lines now are going to be absolutely slaughtered when the course kicks in proper.
On a more positive note, I’m still enjoying learning biology, and I have been looking up the requirements for the Open University’s biology courses, just in case I feel like switching from computers. I’m feeling a real desperate need to learn everything there is to know about sharks, and a biology degree might let me do so.
Finally, my biggest competition for the trans officer position on the PLEXUS society (The OU’s LGBTQIA+ group) has withdrawn as a candidate, so my odds went up! Fingers crossed.
So week 1 of NaNoWriMo 2018 is over and it’s been awesome.
The first two days I had no computer, so I did no writing what-so-ever. Fortunately, I’d already written about 2.5k in planning, so it didn’t take much effort to catch up on day 3.
Since then, I have been managing to keep up with the pace – 1667 words a day – and I’m really pleased, especially considering that I struggled with 500 a day during September! I’ve even managed to do more than that the last couple of days.
Finally, I wrote a first-draft of a short story, based on a queer bookish fantasy, which you can read here: Short Story: SHE (Draft)
Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep the pace for next week. Anyway, here are my stats for the week.
This has been a good week for study. I’ve been keeping on top of my workload, even though it’s half term and my sisters are at home, and I’ve been studying more effectively too. I’m actually writing down my answers to questions I’m asked, I’m highlighting as I go so I have something like notes, and I’ve even started on my first assignment. I’m definitely getting much better at the study skills side of things compared to during my last degree.
I have also had some nice evidence that my new study skills are helping the material sink in. I am the first to admit that I know less than nothing about gardening. My granny, by contrast, knows a whole lot, and keeps a very tidy and pretty garden. But somehow I was able to explain to her some of the basic scientific principles of compost and compost heaps, as a result of studying it as part of this module. Needless to say the random knowledge impressed and amazed my family, and I was incredibly pleased to see facts sinking in, despite not being part of my preferred topics!
Finally, the OU LGBT society have re-advertised three of the committee positions for self-nominations. I know at least one person who has put in for the trans officer post, and since I’d rather do any role with the LGBT society, even if it’s not my preferred role, than I would to lose the chance to do anything I am now going to be putting my name up for some of the other positions just in case.
If you have found your way to my little blog, then you are probably at least fairly bookish, and I you probably know what next month means. But if you don’t I’ll briefly explain.
It’s #NaNoWriMo2018 somebodies!
If you don’t know what that that means, it stands for National Novel Writing Month! Where writers from across the spectrum go hell-for-leather and try to turn out a first draft of a brand new story – 50,000 words in the course of a month. It’s CRAZY, so obviously I’d be stupid not to try, right?
As such, I thought I’d make a little writing journal as I go along.
So anyway, here’s a little bit of info about the story I’m working on!
Tennessee is living out of his car. He’s got no money, no job, no friends and no hope. Then he takes a phone call that changes his life for ever. A delivery goes horrible, catastrophically wrong and Tennessee finds himself running from the law, and captured by a suspicious group who have mistaken him for his twin brother.
What follows is a tale of magic, murder and mayhem. It will hopefully be action packed and most importantly all kinds of queer!
So we’ll see how that goes.
Anyway, you can keep track of my progress here: Link to nanowrimo.org – if you’re thinking of taking the challenge yourself, add me as a buddy (I’m on as RagdollReads), I’d love some encouragement and competition!
Week 2 is over and oh boy has it been a massive, MASSIVE week.
First off, I’m improving my method of study. As I said last time, I was a bit slapdash with study, particularly with notes. I’ve since figured out how to make notes electronically (which you would think I would have thought about at some stage during the last 7 years) and I will be trying to make notes digitally instead of on paper. It might help, or it might be terrible, I won’t know until I try. I’m also keeping on top of my studying comfortably, which is good. As an added bonus, I got my study area up and running and it looks like this:
If only the computer worked properly it would be almost perfect.
These are all big things for me. It’s a level of organisation I haven’t bothered to utilise before.
I’ve also made a decision. An Access Course is, not surprisingly, pretty easy going for me, since I’ve already recently completed a degree. I’m already used to university level study so I have a big advantage compared to many of my classmates. I had a big wobble during study time the other day because the questions I was asked to complete were so painfully simple compared to what I’m used to that it made me sad. But I fought off the anxiety and reevaluated my focus. I’m going to try and pick up new study skills from this course if I can, but mainly I’m going to be trying to absorb as much of the different STEM disciplines as I can. The first course from my last degree scared me, because I didn’t like “the Arts”, I just wanted to do history as I mentioned in my first journal post (Study J(OU)rnal, Prep Week, Year 1). But I didn’t like the history course, so I fell back on things I had (surprisingly) enjoyed studying during the the first course. So I’m doing the same here. I’m going to keep my mind open to all the disciplines in case I find something I think is more interesting than computers!
Finally, an opportunity fell in my lap this week. I have been wanting to take part in the non-academic side of university life for some time, and this week an email was sent out to all members of PLEXUS, the Open University’s LGTBQIA+ society, about elections for committee members. So I’ve self-nominated for the position of Trans Officer. It’s a scary thing to do, and I’m very proud of myself for putting myself out there, even if I don’t get the spot. But still, fingers crossed.
It’s the end of my first week, and I have very mixed feelings about everything. I’ve had a difficult week mental-health wise which has obviously put a damper on just about everything, but that’s not to say I haven’t been busy.
I’ve done First Contact with my tutor for the year. Our tutorials are supposed to be done via telephone, which I am unable to do, so I was pleased to see my tutor was accommodating to that and will allow me to make contact by email. Of course, I was confident this would be the case, because so far my experience with the Open University’s accessibility procedures has been really good.
I’ve also completed my first weeks study content. This week’s work was mainly about how to be an Open University student, which as an alumni I already know, but it has encouraged me to think critically about my approach to study. Over the last 7 years, my studying has been slap-dash at best. I took probably 3 pages of notes, total, I did every weeks worth of studying in one or two big chunks and when the time came to write assignments I stressed and wrote frantically for days, without much actual planning involved. As it turns out, I actually am quite effective with a fluid learning style (one of the advantages of the OU over a brick-and-mortar uni) but I can make changes. I’ll be going out an buying a cork-board and a whiteboard and I will try and combine my existing fluid style with a little bit of planning.
Finally, I’m pleased to see some changes to the way the study materials are presented. Each section is broken down with a guide saying how long it is expected to take. There is a study recap at the end of the chapter, and included in this there is a little box listing the things you have achieved by completing the chapter! I don’t know if it’s specific to the Access course (which prepares you for university level study) or if the features are new to the OU generally, but they were a nice touch.
On the 6th of October I will be starting work on my next degree withe the Open University. The aim is to earn a BSc(Hons) Computing and IT within the next 8 years (part time, obviously…)
When I started my previous degree in what…2010, I made a blog post about it, with the intention of writing about how my studies were going. I would be able to look back when it’s all done and see – in my own words – how far I’ve come and what challenges I’ve faced (and hopefully beaten). Then, as it turns out, I completely forgot about it.
BUT I didn’t have a shiny website to write it on last time, and now I do, so guess what somebodies – now you’re gonna get a more-or-less weekly post about what it’s like to study with the Open University and such. Won’t that be fun!