Study J(OU)rnal, Prep Week, Year 1

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Tomorrow is the official start date for my new degree. The course I will be starting with is called: Y033 Science, technology and maths Access module (link to Open University).

Having just finished one OU degree (BA(Hons)) I haven’t had to do much prep to start with, since studying is pretty fresh in my mind. I have had a read through the assessment guidelines, and I may have lowballed the estimation of my abilities – it looks pretty easy, at least compared to what I’ve just done so that should be interesting. I was advised that it might be too easy, but I didn’t want to risk it in case there was some differences in study behaviour in the sciences that I wasn’t aware of.

What I have done is fished out the blog post I made, on Saturday the 11th, 2011, two weeks before my first degree started. Here it is in full:

There’s just over 2 weeks (or something like that) until the start of the course, so a blog post is in order.

I have no idea what to expect from this course, but needless to say ‘the arts’ is not my strongpoint. But if it’s required to get to the history side of things, then it shall be done.

In preparation for the course I have:

-Read most of Dr Faustus (which I intend to finish reading after posting this)

-Watced the DVD section on ‘Cleopatra’ twice, having read the question and thought about it

-Looked through the study tips but stopped when it tried to tell me how to use a computer.

-Been reading the topic forums for insights

I’m quite enjoying Dr Faustus. I’ve read through the Faustus thread on the forum but haven’t made any posts yet. I nearly did soon after the initial post was made but decided against it, unfortunately now everything I had to say seems to have been said, so lesson learned; Next time I get an opportunity, take it.

I have looked at the first assignment and am not too worried about it at the moment. The Cleopatra question I am fairly confident I can write 500 words about. The Faustus question I am less certain about, but hopefully I will be able to do it well.

It’s nice to have a view of my thoughts from before my last course. When I started that degree I had dropped out of Sixth Form, dropped out of Audio Engineering school and was feeling hopeless. I started with the OU with the intention of studying history. I was worried about the first course, AA100 The arts past and present (link to Open University) because it involved all sorts of disciplines: “art history, classical studies, English, history, philosophy, music and religious studies.” I had failed philosophy and classical studies at A-level 5 years previously and was scared to death of this. I hated English and religious studies and art, and ‘music’ involved opera which I really hated.

As it turned out, AA100 was probably the best thing that had ever happened to me until that point. It opened my eyes to so much. I moved away from this strange idea that I couldn’t do, or didn’t care about the arts. I moved away from a pure history degree, and wound up taking a Religious Studies and Philosophy degree instead!

I remember being worried about starting the course now. I had forgotten how scared I was. It was all new, and big and daunting. But I managed it, and did pretty well. Hopefully I’ll do the same this time around!

Personal: Study Journal

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Introduction.

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…)

 

First lot of materials.

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!

Bring it on!

 

Personal: Graduation

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So, yesterday I graduated…

After 7 years of hard work, I finally graduated from university!

I studied for a BA(Hons) Humanities with Religious Studies and Philosophy specialisms, for which I received a 2.1.

I have been dreading this day…

I have been saying for years I didn’t want to attend graduation. It’s too many people, it’s lots of pressure, smart clothes…all things I struggle with. I wouldn’t say  I was forced to attend, but I was very strongly pressured into it. I’m really glad that I attended.

On the day…

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The ceremony was held at Ely Cathedral – an absolutely beautiful building about 6 miles down the road from me.

The sun was shining all day (until literally the second we got in the car to come home). As you can see, the place was packed out, and it’s not even half full in that picture.

First, I had to get my robes. It was about a thousand degrees in the Lady Chapel of the cathedral where the robing happened – I genuinely thought I might die. It all felt a bit weird, and I really wasn’t into it until I got outside with all the other graduates in their robes.

I have never really felt much university pride, what with the Open University being a distance learning provider – but suddenly I was brimming with it. I felt so proud to be walking around in my robes with my fellow grads. It was awesome.

We had to sit through a great deal of organ music – which I’m not a fan of at the best of times, but it was certainly loud.

As an autistic person with a serious anxiety disorder, I find change and the unknown impossible to handle. As such, I was incredibly fortunate to have the support of the Open University staff in order to get me through the ceremony.

They organised it so my mum and dad could sit next to me – on the front row no less – then they ran through exactly how things where supposed to work. When it was my time to hit the stage, a staff member came and found me and took me to where I needed to go, reminding me exactly what was going to happen.

They took our pictures of us shaking the hand of the pro-vice chancellor of the University as he handed us our certificates – I’ve only seen such a genuine grin on my face a couple of times in my entire life.

The awards went on for ages. There were just so many graduates – every one looking so proud and happy.

IMG_2374.jpgSomewhere in the middle, they awarded Baroness Rebuck ‘Doctor of the University’ (I think). She has worked really hard to stress the importance of reading and literacy and to encourage people to read – especially those who can’t or don’t – I really respect that and was inspired by her, as reading has been such an important part of my life. I had a bit of a chat with her afterwards which was pretty cool (I never strike up conversations with strangers). To the left is a picture to prove it actually happened!

To close the ceremony, the pro-vice chancellor gave a speech about what the Open University means, and how we should be proud of our hard work and proud of our University. At this point I was absolutely overflowing with University pride and it felt amazing. I felt part of something bigger, something precious. Something I didn’t want to let go of. Something I want to be a part of for years to come.

When the ceremony was finished, all the graduates and collected staff had a procession through the cathedral. Since I was at the front, I ended up second in the procession after the staff and such – if I felt important swanning around in my robes, it was nothing compared to that procession. It was awe inspiring. There I was, in the midst of my fellow students, parading through a sea of well-wishers. It was easily the most incredible experience of my life.

Afterwards, we went through to the garden of the Old Palace – I have no idea what that building actually is or indeed was.

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This was a really beautiful moment – just to sea so many of us in our blue and gold robes. A display of hard work and dedication. Champagne was kicking around, although I don’t drink so I had apple juice.

It was a truly spectacular day. I feel proud of what I have achieved. I feel proud to be an Open Universty Alumnus, and I hope to be able to play a part in the universities Alumni Association. I cannot wait to dive right back in to my next degree with the OU – a BSc in Computing and Information Technology.