Saturday, 15 July 2017

5 reasons I am happy to be an Open University student

So as the schools begin to wind down for the summer I am beginning preparations for my second year as an Open University Student - I have revision to work through ready for the new academic year.  I am studying BSc Natural Science (Physics) and thoroughly enjoying it so far (though it is tough going at times!). I have just completed the first 60 credits and in October embarking on Essential Maths 1  (and then February an exciting new module called Physics and Space!).  I have attended a brick uni and did enjoy my time there and each has their own merits but as I am currently studying with the OU so thought I would share with you some of what I personally enjoy about the Open University and being a student there:

  • Flexibility -  I am a stay at home parent and my time is split between between a young teen and a toddler so I can fit my study around their needs (taking to groups and clubs and what-nots!) but I am looking to go back to work very soon (the toddler begins nursery next year) and I love that I will still be able to carry on with my studies and eventually (with hard work) obtain my physics degree!

Old faithful ..(that is the name I gave my calculator...odd? me?)

  • Open to All  Part of the beauty of The Open University is that entry really is open to all, regardless of prior education.   The degrees don't require that you to have done this A-Level or that A-Level or have this many UCAS points.  As I said, I have been to university before but in an unrelated topic (computer programming if you are interested!) but I am now studying a Institute of Physics Accredited degree (module dependent and there are other accredited degrees within the university), I don't have physics or maths at A-Level - I do have a passion for learning though, a passion for my subject and that is all that is needed. And, if you are at all unsure about your ability (the first year takes you through what I would consider A-Level and first year degree level)  or haven't studied for a long time then you can always enrol onto one of the Access Courses.

  • Encourages  good transferable skills as well as academic knowledge  One key thing for succeeding in my opinion is time management and is a key skill encouraged in many ways - many students are balancing families and/or full-time work with their studies.   I'm not going to lie my time management/organisation wasn't great but being faced with deadlines forces you to evaluate your time and I have got better - the university help in some very good ways.  You are given a module calendar, mine was online as my topic was online.  It basically says cover this part of the module/this topic this week and it highlights when your assignments need submitting by (obviously you have to find the time, and determination/motivation to do the work!).  Another good tool for evaluating time used in my first module was during the first two topics we needed to record how long it took to cover sections and then compare to the universities suggestions.  All useful tools, especially for someone like myself  with dyspraxia. And that leads me onto my next good point.

Yay...pretty stationery...another cool reason to be a student!

  • Support for students - I have dyspraxia and before I started my module I contacted the university.  The disability adviser I spoke to at the university went through my profile and we worked out what I would need to be able to achieve my potential, how the university could help me.   Reasonable adjustments were made and any problems, you only need to ring through to the university or email your Student Support Team and they will do all they can to assist you.   The university go out of their way to help you succeed. It has so far been a wonderful experience.
  • Making new friends/peer support - you would think (or I did), that being distance learning you would be quite isolated but that really isn't the case! (Unless of course that is your cup of tea).  There are forums on the university site for your subject where you can interact with other students and tutor, and there are tutorials online, but there are also groups on Facebook that you can join for your subject and also general groups to mix with others across the university, there is a group for disabled students to offer peer support, and there are also groups such as a chess club (which I am a member!) but aside from online, there are other options for mixing with other students, optional day schools, you may have residential options as part of your module, some groups also meet up and there are local groups arranged where students arrange to meet up.

All in all, I am really enjoying my time with the O.U. and it definitely works for me, now just fingers crossed waiting for results which should be here next week! Eek!

You Baby Me Mummy

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