7th February 2004 is when it all began. That was the date my very first module with the OU started. It was DD100 – An Introduction to the Social Sciences which was a 60 point level 1 course intended to break you back into education gently. I remember first starting it and being so apprehensive about doing the whole degree and wondering if I would actually make it right the way to the end. I swore blind to everyone that I would and in my head I put forward a very convincing argument but at the time it just seemed so incredibly far away that I never honestly expected to get there.
I’ve done a couple of level 1 modules as fillers since finishing my first BSc but this feels so different. I get to experience a full degree again but this time I do it with insider knowledge. I know how the OU works and I’ve experienced the changes in provision over the years so I know the score and am under no illusions about workload and expectations. Yet I still have slight butterflies about it. With the benefit of hindsight and experience I get to do it all over again – properly. Starting from the very beginning I can treat this like my first degree; read all of the guides and study advice, keep the study diaries and fill in the reflective portfolios.
I want to do better on this one and aim for a better final grade. I know I’m capable of it but by the time I fumbled my way through a couple of the modules on my first degree and transferred some credit from a foundation degree in a completely unrelated subject I had to resign myself to the knowledge that a 2:2 was as good as I was going to get.
'I’d love to experience the nerves/apprehension/fear/bravado/cockiness or whatever else I was going through all over again'
It’s funny getting the emails from the OU relating to level 1 study. They’re all full of soothing words of comfort about embarking on this ‘fascinating and exciting journey through education’ and I sit reading them with a smirk on my face thinking ‘yeah yeah, been there, done it, bought two hoodies’ but I mustn’t think like that. It’s so easy to become complacent about study once you’ve been doing it for a few years. It’s easy to over-complicate questions and I’ve mentioned it before in past blogs so rather than ignoring module forums and arrogantly thinking I don’t need to keep the study diaries and whatnot I’m going to do it all – pretend I’m just starting out. You never know, I might learn a thing or two in the process.
Also, because my first degree ended up as a BSc Open and this is a named degree (Criminology & Psychological Studies) I’m kind of considering my BSc Open a ‘practice run’. Funny though isn’t it that a degree which took me almost eight years to get is now an almost insignificant ‘practice run’.
Anyway, however I choose to view it, it was an important and pivotal decision I made way back in 2004. I wish I could go back in time and remember exactly how I felt when I first started. I’d love to experience the nerves/apprehension/fear/bravado/cockiness or whatever else I was going through all over again but with the knowledge that in the end I did actually finish it and decided to carry on and never stop. I know exactly what that 23-year-old version of me would say to the 31-year-old version of me – “crikey Caz, you’re not ageing well are you”.
Yeah, I was never that keen on her to be honest. Stupid girl thought she knew everything.