Beth's Box

Inspiring a love of learning

27th November 2019

Over the weekend I attended my first face-to-face Open University tutorial of the academic year.  I came away energised and charged and ready to carry on.

I made the decision to continue studying for the history degree in June.  Like much in my life over the last few years, it was a spur of the moment decision and has been yet another great decision.  Because I knew I wanted to continue with the history degree the only real question was which module to choose to study this year.  Eventually, I decided on A225 The British Isles and the modern world, 1789-1914

I last studied in 2014, when I completed A200.  I managed to achieve a grade 3 pass despite the enormous pressure I was under at the time (a new baby and post-natal depression).  At the time it was a huge relief to have the module over and done with and to have passed at all.  I was not inclined to finish it at the time, and even wondered if I ever wanted to return to studying at all.

Returning to studying this year hasn’t been an easy path…

It took me 4 months just to get the funding in place, and for a few weeks it looked like it wouldn’t happen at all (to be honest though, that only served to teach me how much I really want to study!).

The course started at the beginning of October. Despite my initial hesitation that I would be out of my depth and that I would struggle with the time period (after all, I’m much more comfortable with pre-history) I am REALLY fired up by it.  Much of the study so far has encompassed the early political reformers… from the French revolution through to the Reform Act of 1832.  It’s seems to have really hit a sweet spot of passion inside me. So much so, I earned my highest result yet in the first assignment with a very high B, a couple of marks off an A… To say I was delighted would be an understatement… However, it’s also served to make me want to do even better next time.

Yesterday’s tutorial was the best experience I have had with the OU… I am a strong supporter of distance learning, but I often miss the face-to-face aspect.  The group I encountered yesterday were the best to date. We bounced well-considered ideas around the room. 

Importantly, it’s the first tutorial I have attended as myself.  I started with The Open University in January 2010.  I was a new mum (Seren was 8 weeks old) and I had little to no identity of my own.  In June 2014, when I finished my last module, I still had no identity of my own… The benefit of time is how I have matured, how I have grown.  My writing style has matured; the way I think about things has changed; and I’m more capable of constructing a balanced (and logical) essay. 

This week, I’m mostly concentrating on writing my next assignment… wish me luck.


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  • Reply
    28th November 2019 at 11:14 pm

    Ah good on you, good luck out it all. Should be very proud of yourself

  • Reply
    Pati Robins
    28th November 2019 at 7:46 pm

    congratulations Beth on doing this , i want to start my journey with open university at some point in next year , so i really look forward to hear more about your journey

  • Reply
    Kara Guppy
    28th November 2019 at 11:17 am

    I returned to studying in my late thirties with a young family and found it really hard but was so pleased when I got my results

  • Reply
    Sabina Green
    28th November 2019 at 10:48 am

    Well done you this is such a great thing to do. A friend of mine did an OU course a few years back and she loved it!

  • Reply
    Tracey Kifford
    28th November 2019 at 12:29 am

    Well done you! I wish I had the energy to take on college/a degree – I’m not brave enough now

  • Reply
    Lyndsey O'Halloran
    27th November 2019 at 11:47 pm

    Good luck with your course! I think learning something new is really exciting.

  • Reply
    27th November 2019 at 8:27 pm

    Good for you! I so want to study again but I scare myself off with the money side and if I actually have the time to study with working, looking after the kids and house. It’s probably excuses to be honest. One day I will do it. I want to study holistic therapies. Keep going though, it will be worth it in the end, such a sense of achievement!

  • Reply
    Sarah Howe
    27th November 2019 at 6:29 pm

    I’m so pleased you got onto the course you wanted and can do that distance learning! Well done on the first assignment.You must have worked hard.

  • Reply
    27th November 2019 at 5:30 pm

    Good luck! Sounds like you have done so well juggling everything so well done.

  • Reply
    Fran Back With A Bump
    27th November 2019 at 8:50 am

    Good on you! I struggle as an adult to go back to learning. I have spent the last two years becoming a personal trainer, and getting back into the swing of getting coursework done, revising etc is so hard! Especially with a day job and kids!

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