Saturday, 9 August 2008

Just Another Saturday

It's just another Saturday; when I was working it was the day that I had a lie in, sometimes not getting up until 7.30am. I ought to explain that on weekdays I used to call in at the gym for an hour's workout or a swim before I went in to face the rigours of the day. This meant that I would leave the house shortly after 6am to be at the gym when it opened at 6.30am, then do my exercise, have a shower, get dressed into my work clothes (usually a suit, but not always) and then drive to my place of work.

Much of my day would be spent reading through reports, editing them and advising on where rewriting or rewording was necessary. Sometimes it would be me who was writing the reports, on various subjects, some technical and some organisational. At the end of the day I would go home and spend a couple of hours reading the course material for whatever Open University course I was working on at the time, and when necessary writing the assignments that formed part of my assessment for these courses.

Saturdays were the day that I kept for myself. I could have a lie in, go shopping if I wanted to, or just veg out if it had been a particularly bad week at work. Sundays were for housework, getting everything ready for the next week at work, and spending a considerable period of time studying. It must have all been worth it because I managed to get a BSc(Hons) while continuing to work full time in a job that often required me to work very long hours.

Since I have had to stop working I have tried to continue to study with the OU as it has been a life saver for me, but it has not always been easy. You would think that now I don't have to fit work into my schedule, the studying could be done at any time of the day. But it can't, I just don't seem to be able to get myself to follow some sort of timetable, although one of the most important things for anyone who suffers from depression is to try to establish a routine and to stick to it no matter what.

So why do I have so much of a problem? I'm not really sure, but I think that part of it is having got myself into such a strict routine for last six years that I was working, I find it difficult to do things at times and on days which I associate with other things. Therefore, as it is Saturday, and I've had a lie in, and I haven't any money to spare so there is no point in going shopping. But Saturday used to be the one day when I didn't do any studying so it is not a normal Saturday thing.

I'm doing one of the OU's 'Openings' short courses at the moment, just as a fill in before starting a longer course in October, and it should be easy for me to do the two tutor-marked assignments (TMA) and the end of course assignment that is in lieu of an exam, but regular readers will know that I have had real problems sitting myself down to write the assignment (nothing too difficult, an essay plan, a 1000-word essay answering a particular question, and two simple exercises in reflecting about the learning experience), however, I did eventually manage it and I got it back from my tutor with lots of nice comments and some useful feedback.

Having been bolstered a little by this, which showed that I had not completely lost the knack of writing an essay in answer to a specific question (I mean I really did answer the question that was asked rather than what I thought was asked as I did in one of my very earliest TMAs all those years ago), I thought that I would spend today working towards my second TMA for this course. But it seems that I have my Saturday head on today, and no matter how hard I try I cannot find it in myself to concentrate on the study material and start to pull together some notes to form the basis of the essay.

The second TMA is much like the first one in composition; an essay plan and then a 1000-word essay for the first task, and two reflective questions, this time about feedback I received for the first TMA, for the second. However, try as I might I just can't do it. I obviously have a different head for Saturdays and it just doesn't allow me to do anything constructive as far as the studying is concerned.

Perhaps part of the problem is that the 'Openings' courses do not have a strict timetable like other OU courses, where you have to submit TMAs by certain dates and it can sometimes be quite difficult fitting in all the reading and other activities that you have to do. I'm glad that they didn't have these taster courses when I was first looking for something to fill the empty hours, because I know that it would have been all to easy to just coast along and not make too much of an effort. Starting my studying with the Science Foundation Course was the best thing that I could have done. It stretched my mind, and gave me something to focus on that was not work, but was worthwhile. I often regret that I did not do better at school and that I did not go to university when I was younger. But with hindsight, I have to say that I probably would not have got so much out of studying had I done it when young, and I probably wouldn't have had it to fall back on to help me through the desperate times as I do now.

What a wonderful thing is the Open University.

1 comment:

Witchdoctor said...

Sometimes we witches wonder why everyone in the world does not suffer from depression most of the time.

We even wonder how much depression drove some of the great writers, musicians and artists.

We've come to the conclusion that we think some types of depression become the default position eventually for many, but that, at least for some, the greatest antidote is creativity.

Blogging is surely a form of creativity.

As is learning for learnings sake.

It looks as if you are finding this might be true for you.

I hope so.

Good luck