It has been a year of reflection. So, I have been toying with the idea of starting a degree for about the last three years but there has always too much going on for this to be remotely feasible but now I have done it…I have started a BA (Hons) Humanities degree. Sadly I didn’t get to do freshers week like my son (although does it ever end because his ‘week’ is still going three weeks later) as I am not at a brick university. I am studying with the Open University which allows people in similar situations to mine, to study from home.
I am doing two modules this year, one module is about the arts, past and present(AA100) and the other is based on social sciences(DD101). The courses place a lot of emphasis on reflection and self analysis, therefore I am advised to keep a learning journal. I was thinking I may share it and my journey here. Even if no one reads it at least it is there for my benefit.
So briefly, week one started with a tutorial where I met the tutor for one of my modules ‘The Arts’ , plus six other students. I had been really panicking about whether I was doing the right thing before this meeting, especially as the questions for my first two assignments seem far too difficult for someone ‘like me‘(read that as someone who is out of their depth perhaps & definitely not clever enough to get through this) and many people on the Facebook forums had posted that they’ve written their assignments already! Fortunately my tutor is very nice and helpful and I came away from the tutorial feeling positive and relaxed. That was Saturday.
Sunday, I couldn’t possibly do any work…it is Sunday after all and family day. Hmmm.
I’m not going to bore you with every minor detail but my week has involved reading, a lot, about Cleopatra. To be honest, I didn’t really know much about her before. On Friday I know a bit more, this needs to be increased significantly for me to answer the first part of this assignment, already due in four weeks. I have found it quite interesting and it has whet my appetite. I think I need another trip to The British Museum too, just so I can see what I have learned about that era in ‘the flesh’. Our bedtime reading book has been Cleopatra from Usborne Young Reading series, so not only have I been learning the basics about Cleopatra’s life but so has six year old M. I would highly recommend childrens’ books as a starting point for any new topic. If you understand what you are trying to learn in simplified terms first you can then build on that knowledge.
Back to that assignment though, the panic is back and I feel a bit lost. I have another tutorial next week plus some online ones so I am hoping that I will gain some guidance from them so I know where to start, at least. It is amazing how hard it is to write an academic essay after such a long time. It is as though my brain has frozen.
The other module has mainly involved watching videos on a road in Cardiff and thinking about the ways a society is made and it’s inequalities. I have to admit I am finding it a bit dull, I haven’t spent quite so much time on this one but today I did see a little light and have started a mind map of ideas for this assignment which is due in just over two weeks (gulp…half term here that week and the week before!)
Generally I have been feeling frustrated because I have not got anywhere near as much done as I had hoped. I haven’t had one whole day to devote to the course because of school commitments/expectations. I really hope this changes because I am supposed to be spending in total about 35 hours a week studying. I think it can probably be pared down quite a bit this year and hopefully I will learn to know which bits I can skim before long. I have been using my iPad to it’s best ability too, a great tip…download all the study material including videos to it and then any minutes you can snatch whilst sitting in the car waiting for school to end or as I do, sit in a car park for several hours a week whilst my daughters dance are fantastic opportunities. That has been invaluable time this week and I expect it will be my ‘top up’ study time.