Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Achieved - Yet It Doesn't Feel Like An Achievement
Earlier this year I had to give up studying for an MSc because I was having real problems with being able to concentrate while studying. It is quite common for those suffering from depression to have periods where their capacity to concentrate on anything becomes severely impaired, and my worst one to date occurred in March. But the problem with giving up studying was that I was left with more time on my hands with nothing to do and so the depression got worse.
I have always suffered withdrawal symptoms as each OU course finished and I waited for the next one to begin, but this time it coincided with a total lack of confidence in my ability to write an essay, something that had never occurred before. I knew that like getting back on a horse after you have fallen from it, I needed to find something that would help me to regain some sort of confidence in my ability to write, which was something that had always been one of my strongest attributes when I was working. To this end I decided to take one of the OU short courses.
These courses were not available when I started studying with the OU; they have, however, built up quite a selection of these courses over the last few years. I looked at the courses that were available to see if there was anything that took my fancy. Having read through the options several times I decided to settle for the OU course 'Starting with Psychology'. There was a book to read, two TMAs to submit, and a long essay which counted as the examinable component of the course. If I successfully completed and passed the course (the OU calls it 'achieved' rather than 'passed' on these short courses because you have to show that you have achieved a number of learning objectives, so are not give a numerical score for the work), I would earn 10 points which could be put towards the 360 points needed for an Honours degree.
I did the course, submitted my ECA, and yesterday the course result came out. It says that I 'Achieved'. But what did I achieve? I managed to write a couple of essays. I must have managed to take on board some of the course material because I showed that I had adequately used that material in the compilation of the essays. I had managed to include references, to show how certain aspects of the material related to the questions set. Yet at the end of it all I don't feel as though I have really learnt anything at all, and because of the way that things were marked I have little idea whether I wrote a good essay or not.
I'm still having trouble putting an essay together. I have got to write three over the next three weeks on three different subjects. This should be easy enough for me to do, and yet I have not got any confidence in my ability to write a reasoned piece of prose at the moment.
The OU has decided that I achieved the standard necessary to be considered as a successful candidate on that course. I, on the other hand, don't feel as though I have achieved anything.