For recent graduate Susan Allinson the support of her dog during her OU studies was as important as the support of a family. Susan shares her story with Platform.
Finding inspiration to study
Usually most students praise the support of their family and friends who have helped them through all the OU years. For me, it is actually my dog who has helped me through some difficult patches, and especially when looking for inspiration for those TMAs.
Writing up TMAs almost always requires isolation, silence and hopefully no distractions. I was easily distracted by my dog at my feet with her deep dark eyes boring into me. I resisted most of the time although would occasionally give in and take her out for a short walk.
I revelled in those moments of distraction not because I had escaped from the real work but because I used this time to concretise my arguments and thoughts. And to my surprise it really worked! Once back in my seat, I couldn’t type fast enough, although, it does help if you have a good memory.
I graduated in April in London with a BSc after a long and very enjoyable six years of study.
Now that I have no reason to submit any more TMAs and to plan my life according to the cut-off dates, I find myself looking at the student homepage just to see if there are any e-mails for me. Alas, there are none. However, I still have the university’s links. This is where I came across the ‘OUSA Arts room’ and decided to have a look at this year’s student experiences and comments on my last course A218.
Promoting the benefits of having a dog
Amongst the usual banter of support and comradeship, there was one comment from a student who had just acquired a puppy and who wondered how this would affect her study. I do remember the day we bought our puppy after one of the OU exams in October 2001 and the way in which she changed our way of life – and only for the better I hasten to add.
The impact of animals on a persons life should not be underestimated and various research has taken place to explore the Human-Animal bond.
- An article in News in Health explores the health and social benefits of owning a dog. It suggests there is lots to be gained from this interaction but that we are still learning and more research needs to be done.
- According to about.com owning a dog or cat could also reduce stress and improve your mood.