Study J(OU)rnal, Week 2, Year 1

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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.

Bring on Week 3!

Study J(OU)rnal, Week 1, Year 1

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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.

Bring on week #2!