Tuesday, 30 September 2008
A Busy Couple Of Hours
I got a better night's sleep last night thanks to a little blue pill. I got myself up and into the bathroom at a reasonable hour with the intention of heading off to the library again today. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of going back into the bedroom, climbed into bed and dropped off to sleep again. Oh well, I was only making up for what I missed over the weekend.
By the time that I got up the sky had clouded over and it started to pour with rain, so walking to the library didn't seem like a good idea. Never mind, I thought, I can do some work on the essay that I have already written, tidying it up and making sure that it fits in the word count. I knew that it was a bit over the required count, but there was a hint of repetition in it, so if I removed that I should be okay. Two and a half hours later I still haven't started doing any work on the essay.
I switched the computer on, had a look to see which of my favourite blogs had been updated, and sat down to read them. Then I found that there were a couple of comments to my posts, so I moderated those. Next port of call was the OU website so that I could see whether there was anything new there. There was, so I read all the new stuff (well some of it anyway) and then marked everything as read. More comments had come in on my blog. Then there were new blogs to read. Before I knew where I was the middle of the day had disappeared and it is heading towards time to consider what I am going to have for dinner tonight. There's nothing much in the fridge so it's either going to have to be something out of the freezer or I am going to have to go out to do some shopping. Decisions, decisions.
But the first thing that I must do is to sit down with the books and get on with some studying. I can't face the essay at the moment, so I think that I will put the TMA on hold for today. Instead I shall wrap myself up warm, put my feet up and do some reading. I'm well ahead of the course calendar at the moment, and I want to make sure that I stay that way. So even if I only spend an hour working on it this afternoon, I am maintaining the momentum that I have built up with this course.
For new students to the OU that can be the most difficult task. It is daunting starting to study after what can be a significant time since school. Many OU students have never studied at this level before and panic about whether they are going to be able to cope. The answer is to find a time and a place that is your time, your study time. Some people decide that they will spend a certain period every evening studying. This is the favourite strategy of those that work full-time. Others will choose a couple of evenings a week and make up the rest of the time at weekends. And those that don't work can study whenever they want to.
When I worked, I was very strict with myself and did a couple hours each evening Monday to Thursday, then I would spend all of Sunday morning or afternoon with the books. It wasn't easy because there were times when my depression was so bad that I would have to read things many times in order to understand the material and to absorb it. Now that I don't work, I am finding it a bit easier. I try not to leave things to the last moment. This is mainly achieved by cracking on at the start of a course when I am full of enthusiasm. Even though my mood has been very up and down over the last couple of months, I have managed to complete a short course almost a month ahead of schedule, and I have got to grips with my current course, that doesn't officially start until the weekend.
Some of my fellow students are quite worried by the fact that I have progressed so far. They shouldn't be. Most are new to this form of study and they will find out as the course progresses what the best method of arranging things is for them. I need to get ahead for two reasons. The first is that I never know when I will get a period when studying becomes impossible. The second is that I am hoping to go to Canada for Christmas and two TMAs are due in at the beginning of January. As I don't want to be having to study while I am away, I am going to have to get these assignments completed before I go.
Studying has become a way of life for me. It's an addiction that doesn't harm, although I must admit that you can get withdrawal symptoms when a course finishes and you have to wait for a number of months before your next one begins. It is a means of keeping my brain active, and there is a wonderful sense of achievement when I finish a course, but it can also be nerve wracking waiting for the results to come out. My graduation day was one of the proudest days of my life, probably more than it would have been had I gone to university straight from school. I don't think that I could live without it now.