Category Archives: Studying

Well, I’ve started . . . .

. . . so I guess I’ll just have to try and finish!

It’s been a difficult week this week. With so much time spent sleeping, because of the Lupus and CFS, I’ve barely spent any time studying my course activities.

I have managed to sort-of keep up to date, but there’s an awful lot of re-reading to be done, in order to get – and hopefully retain – the information I need to complete TMA 03.

I admit that a blank Word document scares the life out of me so, when I actually woke up, and kept awake long enough to get my head into study gear, I decided that I’d just write whatever came into my head, so at least there wouldn’t be all this blankness facing me. What surprised me, was that I had retained a bit more information than I’d thought at first, and by writing in a stream-of-conscience type of way, some of the 600-odd words I put down actually made some sense!

This means that, although I’m going to still have a huge effort ahead of me, when my brain-fog clears up sufficiently enough for me to hit the books again, at least I’ll know I’ve made a fair start on it already. 

I’m not sure whether its getting a bit easier, or that I have retained more than I thought, but I actually have some hope of completing a semi-decent essay by the end of it and, although I don’t think I’ll make the 12th January Noon deadline, I’m hoping to not be too far away from it by the time I’ve finished it all.

I guess, as usual, it’s a wait-and-see deal again!

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They say that patience is a virtue . . .

. . . but I’m not sure whether I’ve learned enough of it as yet!

My tutor started to mark our TMA’s last weekend, but I still haven’t got a result as yet, and so I’m spending every minute I can spare, going on to my OU course site, and staring hopefully at the results page – only to be faced with a blank once again.

I really should have got used to the wait by now, especially after 6 years of studying with the OU, but I’m afraid I haven’t, as yet, and we’re getting perilously close to the weekend again, with the chance that I might have even more time to wait :/

But I am being good – sort-of, and doing my best to continue on with the activities I need to complete, especially as yet another TMA will soon be looming. 

I actually had a look at TMA 03 yesterday – something normally unheard of for me, as I prefer to come at it fresh when it’s time to start work on it. Imagine how I felt, when I read the statement I’ll be working on, only to see that there’s barely any difference between it and the last TMA!

I really don’t know what the course leaders are playing at, but it feels as though we’re just going round and round in circles with this one. There just doesn’t seem to be any progression between each TMA. Usually, when I do a course, each TMA will show a significant step along the journey I embarked on at the beginning, and each TMA will show me yet another aspect of the course, and what I’m supposed to be learning from it – but this one? Nope!

I’m going to keep on with it, purely because I’m not a quitter, but I’m just hoping and praying that the second half of the course shows some difference, otherwise I’m going to be an extremely miffed woman indeed 😦

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It’s definitely becoming a bit of the Tortoise and Hare scenario here :/

I have to confess that I put all my books away for a few days – firstly, to recover from yet another cluster migraine, but also more in the hope that I could look at them with fresh eyes when I got back to them again but, alas, it didn’t work, and I’m still creeping along, well behind so many of my fellow travellers in this particular course 😦

I was fairly good today, and have caught up on my Study Guide activities, and most of my Course Text activities, but I’m still no closer to writing my TMA, I’m ashamed to say. Procrastination is becoming a bit of a habit for me where this is concerned, but I’m going to have to get back on track, and soon, or I’ll never read enough to complete this next TMA.

This course book that Carter wrote is becoming a bit of a weight on my conscience as, with each day that it remains closed, I’m feeling a terrible guilt at not trying harder to understand what he’s trying to say to me – but I think I need to be the Minotaur to follow all the complex twists and crazy routes in this maze of a book!

While I was talking to my tutor at the Elluminate tutorial, she commented on the fact that I kept referring to my course work as a journey. I hadn’t realised that I was doing this but, on thinking about it, I guess I do look at it that way.

It has been a long journey for me, this learning lark, and it’s one I stepped out on with much trepidation, six years ago. There have been times when my road was direct and smooth, with nothing to disturb me, so that I had time to look out at the pretty scenery, and smell the scent of success coming towards me. But there have also been times when the road became steep and curved, where I had to slow down or lose my way – but this is the first time I’ve really felt as if I were lost, and without a signpost in sight. 

I guess it’s time for me to stop for a minute, get out the road maps, and plan a route that will guide me back to the path I was on as, being so near the end of my journey, it is so very frustrating to have got so lost!

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And still I battle on . . . . .

I’m ashamed to admit that I’m still not much further along with Carter’s book.

But I had a great tutorial, online, a few days ago, with something called Elluminate, which allowed me the choice of talking directly to my tutor, via the internet, or typing in what I wanted to say. As my typing is appallingly slow without the help of my Dragon software, I was glad to be able to talk directly with my tutor. Unfortunately, although she took us through what is needed to make our next TMA successful, I find myself even more confused now, especially over the choices I need to make over the various, and numerous, aspects of creativity in everyday talk.

I have at least found the narrative that is needed to make a transcription, at last! I came across a radio pod-cast that had been sent out live on the 15th of this month – an interview between one of my favourite authors, Terry Pratchett, and the radio broadcaster, Simon Mayo and, although Simon Mayo was asking pre-prepared questions of Terry, the responses given were totally ad hoc, which meant that I was able to use it.

It took me around 5 hours to transcribe the 14.35 minutes of talk, which I don’t think was too bad, especially considering this course is the first time I’ve had a go at such things, and I’ve even sort-of made a start on my TMA – well, I’ve at least set out on the page what needs to be done, and have set out the Appendix with the context of the radio pod-cast, the transcription itself, and the transcription conventions I’ve used to accentuate and bring alive the words I’ve recorded. I’ve even made a start at the introduction paragraph, although I know that it needs a huge amount of work on it still, to make it acceptable for the essay.

The problem is, I need to get on with reading the rest of the Carter book to be able to continue with it and, frankly, I’m dreading it! In between battling awful cluster migraines this last week, I’ve made the attempt to read it countless times and, each time I try, it brings back a migraine – not a great incentive to keep on, believe me!

I think what I’ll have to do, migraines permitting, is try to get on with the study guide, and the course book, activities, and hope there’s enough in them for me to continue writing the TMA 😦

In all my years with the Open University, this has come the closest for me to be considering quitting the course. What should have been a happy and productive ending to my O.U. life is, through further ill health, and a labyrinthine and tortuous course book, becoming more like a nightmare for me, and I really don’t know if my health is up to continuing on with something that is frankly quite stressful for me now, instead of the enjoyable experience I’d hoped for.

I guess we shall see how I get on over the next week or so . . . . .

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I had to make a cry for help to my tutor . . .

. . .and I didn’t enjoy having to do so 😦

I sent an email off to my tutor last night, as I’m so bogged down in Carter’s book, that I don’t feel I can continue with the course.

My tutor was very quick to respond to my email, and sent me a lovely response this morning, setting out ways I could work on with the course that would, hopefully, get me back on track again.

To be honest with you, I don’t hold out any hope that I’ll be able to achieve this, but I’ve never been a quitter, unless seriously forced to be, and so I’ll take up my tutor’s suggestions, and see where they take me.

It’s at times like these that I feel my lack of good health most keenly, and deeply regret all those wasted chances to better myself while I was fit and healthy. But I guess regrets are futile now, so I’ll just have to take a grip of myself, and battle on as best I can . . . . . . . . 

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It’s like wading through a bath of treacle . . .

In all the years that I have been reading fluently, I have never come across a book that could actually put me physically to sleep – until now 😦

For the last week, I’ve been desperately trying to read Carter’s Language and Creativity: the art of common talk, and getting absolutely nowhere! 

It has actually taken me this last week just to read the Acknowledgements and Introduction to the book, and I’ve only just managed to reach Chapter 1 at last – over a week later. The trouble is, there are 6 chapters to go through, and I need to do this before the weekend, or it will impinge on my writing time for the many activities we’re supposed to complete each week 😦

This is either going to be the worst week of my life, or I’m going to end up behind again 😦

Unfortunately, I can’t blame the book entirely for my falling asleep within minutes of picking it up, as I’m permanently fighting sleep anyway, even without having to cope with Carter’s labyrinthine sentence structures!

All I can hope for, is that the book either gets a lot more interesting for me to read, or that I get used to Carter’s way of writing, and quickly! Either choice is highly unlikely for me, I suspect, but I guess I’m going to have to keep on wading through treacle until I get to the end – Oh, I look forward to that!

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Talk about amazed. . . . . .

I couldn’t believe it when I received the notification that my TMA had been marked and returned – I got a whopping 74%!

I had to check it twice, in case I’d been sent somebody else’s results by mistake but, no – it was actually true! 🙂

I have to admit that there was so much room for improvement, and I’d made some very silly mistakes, such as messing up the Harvard referencing, but, overall, I’m well pleased with my first TMA result. {big grin}.

Altogether, I think that I’m beginning to get to grips a little with the course – at least, it doesn’t seem to be quite as bewildering to read through now, but the sheer amount of reading we’re expected to get through over the next few weeks is daunting – even for me, the perpetual bookworm!

We have a double chapter to go through in both the study guide and course books, which means double the activities, plus we’re also expected to read through Ronald Carter’s Language and Creativity: the art of common talk book – something I’m not looking forward to, as I’ve read so many complaints about it by fellow students, one of them being that it sends them to sleep – the very last thing I need at this moment!

But, I’m determined to get through it all, and now have TMA 02 looming on the horizon (8th December), where I’ll be expected to choose some of my own data to analyse, which means finding someone, or some people, to tape while talking, transcribe that talk, and then analyse it to discuss why “Creativity is a normal feature of everyday conversation”. I’ll need to decide just how I’m going to analyse anything I’ve chosen, choose the analysis tools most suitable for the job, and explain why I’ve chosen these tools, and what they bring to the analysis so, no pressure then? {wry grin}

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