Platform

Hello all! This is just a quickie, as I should really be doing my assignment right now. It has just come to my attention that a group for ‘young’ students (18-25 year olds) has been set up on PLATFORM. This is a place where we can network and have online discussions. I thought it might be beneficial for you to read other perspectives on OU life (as I am hopelessly biased!). If any of you are interested copy and paste this into your browser:

http://www8.open.ac.uk/platform/groups/young-students-18-25

Also, I have just received a shiny new flip camera, so watch this space for my first ever video blog!

Finding the time.

So Yesterday I started the training for my new job. I’ve had it pretty easy up til now, I’ve had all the time in the world to devote to my OU stuff. That’s about to change… At the moment I’m not tooo stressed about it, when I new I’d got this job, I sort of had a bit of a mad dash of doing as much work as possible so that I would struggle later on. It seems to have worked so far! I submitted my dreaded Dickens assignment a week early (it was actually due in today), which can only be a good sign. This past year seems to have gone so incredibly fast… it seems like no time at all ago I was writing pro/con lists, trying to decide which modules to study! I barely have any assignments left, and despite all my grumblings I think I might actually miss them! You get a certain amount of satisfaction from creating a fabulous essay on a not-too-riveting topic… So my next step is to write my Antigone essay for AA100. This is another longish one, 1500 words. I’ll keep you posted on my progress with that bad boy, and no doubt I’ll be having a little rant about not being able to find the time soon enough! Bye for now!

Dickens Assignment

So the day has finally come that I need to revisit ‘Hard Times’. This assignment is the longest I’ve had so far, 1500 words for Part 1. I had the insane caffeine-fuelled panic that I always do, but on friday I just sat down and hammered out my first draft. 1452 words. I was quite pleased with myself, it would normally take me way, way, way longer to write so much. I have to say, the more I wrote, the more ‘Hard Times grew on me. I’ve ended up with a sort of appreciation for the obnoxious characters, at the very least they gave me a lot to write about! I have four days left before it’s due in, and all I have left to do is make my bibliography all neat and tidy, and double-check I’ve done my referencing right… hopefully that won’t take me too long. Oh, and I also have to write Part 2, but as the word limit is 250, it should be fairly quick. It’s another reflective commentary, this time on how studying historical context has influenced my understanding of ‘Hard Times’. I really do not like writing these reflective bits, I just find it really pointless, I don’t really get anything of it. And also, it’s never quite clear what they want us to write about. With A150 there has been a reflective commentary in each assignment, so you’d think I would have it down by now…. not the case! Ok, I think I need to just grit my teeth, finish up, and send off my assignment, so for now that’s all.

Darragh

A World of Difference

This collection of short stories is one of the set books for AA100. It’s probably the first time I’ve read a short story since my childhood book of fairy tales. I found it quite refreshing to be honest. The beauty of the short story is, if it’s naff, you always know there isn’t much left to read! Another positive is you get a taste of authors and styles that you may not usually be attracted to. This book consists of stories from across the globe, and because of this diversity there were some parts that I loved, and some that I really didn’t. One of my favourites from the anthology was ‘Bella Makes Life’ by Lorna Goodison. I was actually surprised that I enjoyed it so much, as it’s not written in a sort of broken English. Normally it would put me off, but I think due to its length, it didn’t take too much effort to read. There were other stories that I enjoyed while reading them, such as ‘Martha, Martha’ by Zadie Smith. I really started to get into it when it abruptly ended, this is an example of a short story that I would have preferred as a novel. Being quite mysterious, I really wanted to read more, but unfortunately I will just have to let my imagination figure out an ending! I could honestly say that I was interested in reading all of the stories in this book, and all of the styles of writing were so different, it was interesting being able to compare them. However, there were a number of subject matters that completely put me off, for example in ‘Pit Strike’ by Alan Sillitoe. The gritty themes were just not my cup of teas, but I suppose that’s just something I have to come to terms with…. I’m a girl who likes a happy ending! Anyhow, I have much work to do…

Ciao, Darragh

Just another tuesday afternoon…

So I haven’t posted in while. I finally finished my assignment on the art of Benin… I have to admit, I’m a little surprised that I did. I had 74 words the night before it was due, 926 to go. I’ll admit I was feeling a tad pressured (understatement of the century) and I really started to worry that I wouldn’t be able to meet the deadline. I’ve never had that experience before- I’ve always been one of those slightly annoying people who hands work in a week before its due… well, not this time! Studying with OU is great, I love it, I love the freedom it gives me. But sometimes, I wish it was a little more structured, I wish there was someone to push me occasionally. I know that taking charge of my own life is part of being a grown up, and usually that’s fine, but sometimes I’d love to just crawl under my duvet and have somebody tell me what to do! This is why I think having supportive friends and family are vital when studying from home… for example, the other night, when I was having a Benin-related meltdown, my auntie sat down with me and helped me map out the essay. Just having someone there to bounce ideas off, and make you cups of tea when you’re panicking really does help. I know this is a short one, but I really need to get some work done- I wouldn’t want to have another freak out with my next assignment!

Ciao, Darragh

The Art of Benin, Part 1

Today is the third day in a row I’ve spent working on this essay, and still it seems bad. Worse than bad. My word limit is 500, it doesn’t ever really seem enough to create a decent argument… It appears that the OU loves to give teeny tiny word counts (or they have so far).  I know that in the long run it is teaching us to be concise, but for now, the waffling wordsmith within me is a tad frustrated. So in this case I’ve had to put down my trusty thesaurus and just strip it all down.

I’ve spent endless hours in a caffeinated frenzy just trying to make a first draft… I’ve been struggling with this assignment, much more than I usually do! Usually I gather my notes, reread the chapter and just get on with writing, but this time I seem to have just passed a stupid amount of time just staring at my computer screen. I think maybe it has something to do with the silly question- we were given a source and then asked to discuss what it says about cross-cultural encounters. On the surface, that sounds fairly simple but actually, the source was completely devoid of anything relating to cross-cultural encounters…. eek! I have to admit that there were a few moments of sheer panic, but I managed to breathe myself into a sense of calm!

However, I am happy to report that, after an excruciating few days, I’ve finished! The topic itself is something that I knew absolutely nothing about. Doing a module like AA100, you come across a huge variety of topics. The chapters on the Art of Benin were really quite interesting, I mean, I didn’t even know there was a country called Benin! I have to admit I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with anything relating to the Empire, and this chapter really gave me a lot of insight. I think I learnt a lot about the history of our country and how it interacted with other cultures throughout history.

I have to keep it all fresh in my mind as I now have to get going on the second part of this assignment, that involves a 1000 word essay, due in two days! Obviously I may have to pull an all-nighter, so I better make a start nowish.

Ciao, D x