Taking my degree seriously?

I have to say it – I’m three modules in to my OU degree and, while I regularly promise to set aside time for study, I always find myself doing no more that a three hour tutorial and then a further 3-6 hours doing the assignments and this has done the trick so far.  There’s always something that gets in the way and eats up that time – something I’d rather be doing… and it’s not because I’m not enjoying it – I love maths and am somewhat annoyed with myself that I’m missing out on the richness of the OU course by cutting straight to the specific examples I need to complete the coursework.

So why am I not doing the work?  Possibly the key reason is that I am currently able to get away with it.  Why spend more time when I can do what I’m doing and get distinctions?  Surely this is an efficient use of my time.  I’m hardly a role model to students anywhere by doing this… but I doubt I’m the first.

One of my key skills is my ability to spin a large number of those metaphorical plates at the same time… in fact the more the better.  The only way this is possible is if I optimise my time for everything and it’s easier if I have freedom to do the tasks that need to be done on my own schedule.  But working full time and having a family mean that you can’t always do what you want to do, or even what needs to be done, when you want to do it.  So you cut out the things that are easy to cut – going out, sleep or, in my case,  unnecessary study.

So, yes I am taking it seriously.  If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be doing it.  More importantly, if I wasn’t serious then I wouldn’t be annoyed with myself every time I got less than 100%!

This October I’ll be starting the level 2 modules and it’ll be interesting to see if I step up from the bare minimum as the difficulty increases, or indeed if the effort to do the bare minimum increases.  I’m sure there’s a whole statistics project I could do on that alone…

For now, I’m going to at least open book D1 of MS221 and kid myself that I’ll follow the course…

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Dr Janet is a Molecular Biochemistry graduate from Oxford University with a doctorate in Computational Neuroscience from Sussex. I’m currently studying for a third degree in Mathematics with Open University. During the day, and sometimes out of hours, I work as a Chief Science Officer. You can read all about that on my LinkedIn page.