Universally Challenged

I started to have a wade through my Open University stuff last night.  It was like (very) old times, going through the course book with my highlighter pens, illuminating the mega important paragraphs. 

I am still rather daunted by the sheer volume of the paperwork – though slightly less terrified now I’ve dared open the cellophane it came in and know a bit more about what the course entails.

I shall need to become very adept at time management.  It is recommended that I devote six hours a week to my studies – mind you, compare that with my A-level homework which took up in excess of 20 hours of my week!  Then again, when I was a sixth former I was a shy girl with no life.

I have worked out a timetable for myself, to accommodate my coursework while still taking account of everyday activities and social life.  The whole point of the OU is that it is geared towards adult distance learners, who are juggling studies with jobs, families, etc.

I plan to devote two hours on Monday and Tuesday evenings, an hour on Wednesday and Friday mornings and at least two to three hours at the weekend (either the Saturday or Sunday, whichever day proves quieter for me that particular week).

I’ve tried to be realistic, factoring in periods when I’ll be doing tai chi, walking, shopping, attending concerts, spending time with my husband, socialising with friends, or for any other reason it won’t be practically possible for me to sit down and work.

I do not intend to be half-hearted about this venture, though.  I have signed up to the OU for a reason, and paid good money to do so, and will not be aiming for anything less than brilliant results.

I was never a straight A girl, my GCSE and A-level results were fair to middling – but then I found it hard applying myself to academic studies in which I had no interest.  I have a passion for writing, and the Start Writing Fiction course is a project I have chosen to pursue.  It would be so wonderful if I could pass it with exemplary marks.

If I fail now, I’ll be scraping my confidence out of the sewers.  I certainly don’t see myself being able to write again.

The course, which begins on 25th October, is a short one, at 12 weeks, so is going to be intensive and undoubtedly at times stressful.  There seems an awful lot to cram into six hours a week, what with working on assignments, reading the course material, working through the audio CD and taking part in online conferences with fellow tutor group members (the course is entirely Internet-based).  I intend to give it my all.

I will not slack, with half an eye on the telly.  Last night I actually completely forgot to watch one of my favourite programmes, Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two, such was my engrossment in the course book.  I took that as a good sign.  At least I may not be easily distracted from the tasks in hand!

My hubby – bless him – knows he is going to have to be understanding.  He’ll be aware of the times when I need to do uninterrupted study, as well as when it’s our ‘us’ time.  I shall not be neglecting him – nor shall I be antisocial where friends are concerned!

Anyway, it’s quiz night tonight.  Wish me luck…


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