So as you can probably guess…I passed my first year with the Open University! I’m so relieved and proud of myself for managing to cope with going back to full time studying after having a year out.
Reflecting back it wasn’t an easy ride at all, but I enjoy a challenge and the Open University certainly challenged me in more ways than I thought possible. I had to be self-motivating to do my work, keep my work to a schedule so I didn’t under/over do-it, carry out a lot of research on my own without classmates, not being able to attend lectures because of work, and just generally coping with the stress of wanting to write my assignments to the best of my ability.
Towards the end of 2015 I broke up with my ex and it wasn’t the easiest of things to cope with when you’re in the middle of your studies, and it definitely got me down at some point and so to come out with a Pass is even more of a surprise to me.
With my Environment module U116, I found it a lot easier than my other module because I had done a lot of the work before during my A Levels and therefore I did do a lot better. When you study a subject you know and love you tend to do good, and thankfully I had and it was an enjoyable topic to have studied in my first year. My results are here below:
Basically in the first year of Open University (OU), you don’t get graded like “2:1” you just simply get the marks you got on your Exam Marked Assessment (EMA) and your Tutor Marked Assessments (TMA) as a combined/continuous score. So in my case my two separate grades so to speak are 2:2 for my EMA and a 2:1 for my TMA’s (I was 3 marks off a First dammit!), and so overall I passed that module wonderfully! As long as you get 40% you pass, anything below is deemed a fail.
Now with my second module which was an Arts & Humanities (AA100) one, I did struggle with a few assignments because some of the topics I had no interest in and others I simply struggled with writing in a way that my tutor liked. Some of my tutor group thought our tutor marked too harshly but all tutors are different and you just have to get on with it, unless they’re completely useless of course then you should definitely ask to switch. Anyway, I hadn’t studied any of the subjects (English Lit, History, Art History) for over four years and that has definitely reflected in my results here:
So my EMA was marked as 70 which just scraped a 2:1 (yay!) but my continuous scores for my TMA’s for the year were a 2:2 so not amazing, but I’m actually really proud of these results because I really did work hard and took each topic on and didn’t give up.
What I need to keep in mind too is at a “normal” or “brick” university the marks are different, and the OU marking scheme is a lot higher than there’s for some reason. To get a First you have to get 85% (which is bloody hard but not impossible!), I managed to get a few in my Environment module simply because I think I understood the work well and had a good way of presenting my assignments and my writing was written in the way my tutor expected. My tutor was a complete angel to be honest with U116 and I can’t thank her enough.
So now I’ve passed my first year I’m now moving into my second or Level 2 as its known with the OU. My degree is categorised as an ‘Open degree’ which in its simplest terms means I can choose whichever modules I like to make up my degree, not just the one subject. I want to continue with my Humanities subjects (English Lit and Philosophy that I worked on at Level 1 with the module AA100), and so for Level 2 I have chosen to study ‘Reading and studying literature (A230) and ‘Exploring Philosophy’ (A222). You’re probably thinking..”why wouldn’t you stick with Environment when you’ve done so well in it?” That is a good question, but my answer is that I enjoy English Literature a lot and I studied Philosophy at A Level so that’s kind of like my safety module if you like. The career I want to go in (publishing) is based around Literature so to study it makes sense, and if anything I’m looking forward to the challenge of improving my literary skills. I adored studying Environment and I will keep researching in my own time the different subject matter, and I just know that if I continued to study that subject I would be lost in the science and mathematics of it all- I would most likely fail so it was a no from me. A difficult no but a no nonetheless.
I have 4 months until I start my second year in October, and I’m hoping my module materials will turn up in September so I can get ahead start on the reading. I know I know, I’m a complete nerd but I love learning and I’m one step closer to gaining a degree that I really want. I’m all prepared, my student finance loan has been approved and ready to go and I’ve already ordered my set books- so exciting!
I’m going to continue with these OU posts because I enjoy writing them and I know some of you like to follow my progress too, and I just want to thank those who have given me the support throughout this first year- you’re all saints!
If you have any questions regarding my studies or with the OU itself then please don’t hesitate to ask I’m happy to answer if I can.