Me again! I’m back with part three of my University series, ‘What I Wish I’d Known’. This time round we are hearing from four Open University students, students who didn’t go down the conventional University routes which so many do each year.
Hopefully this post will provide those of you unsure about whether a brick University is for you, with some help and guidance. There is never just one option for University which is what these four students show.
Are you ready to meet the Open University students?
My name is Cordelia Moor, and I’m a 22 year old blogger from London! My day job involves running the social media and writing content for a tech company, and I spend most of my free time either blogging, studying, or prancing around at drag shows.
Currently I am in my first year of study with The Open University. Previously (back in 2015) I spent six months at Canterbury Christ Church University studying Special Educational Needs and Inclusion Studies, but quickly realised it wasn’t the right time or place. It’s taken over two years for me to get to a place where I feel able to study again and as a result in February of this year I started with the OU. I’m studying what’s known as an ‘Open Degree’ because I’m incapable of making decisions and this way I can choose any module I want to do, and I’m trying to do it full time. At the moment my modules are ‘The Arts Past and Present’ and ‘Environment: Journey Through a Changing World’.
What Cordelia wishes she’d know:
I wish I’d known that it’s okay to not know what you want to do, and that there are so many options out there other than university. You don’t have to start a uni degree immediately after leaving college because there really is all the time in the world to discover who you really are and what you really want out of life before you start making any big decisions.
I was so indoctrinated into the ‘school, college, uni’ path because I’m quite clever I never really stopped to consider the alternatives. I wish I’d been told more about The Open University more when I was trying to make big life choices in year 13 also I never knew that you can get a tuition loan from Student Finance, and I had no idea what the teaching and materials would be like. I’ve learnt so much and enjoyed the material that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on the ‘brick uni’ experience – I also know now that being able to study at my own pace and in my own time suits me and my mental health needs so much better.
What she’d do differently:
I’d have probably taken a year out in between college and uni, to really think about what it was I wanted to study and what my options were. I wish I’d taken the chance to explore more before I started full time work and having actual adult responsibilities and I really wish I’d made the most of being a student and living alone in those 6 months I was at uni. Ultimately I don’t regret any of the decisions I made because they’ve all led me to where I am right now.
I wish I’d known that it’s okay to not know what you want to do, and that there are so many options out there other than university.
Hi, I’m Sophie and currently, I am in the middle of doing my third degree [now that makes me sound really fancy pants]. The truth of the matter is that the first two were a bit of a fail. OH how I wish I knew. The first degree I started was an Open University course. I started with all the best intentions. Three others where I worked were all doing one and it just seemed like a really fun thing to do. IT WAS AWFUL. I found no support and all of the materials were outdated. I wish I had done more research into it before I started because before the end of the 14 days grace period I handed it all in.
My second experience of university was at an actual university. The University of Chichester to be precise – I was studying Social Work. It was something that I really really wanted to do. I worked so hard to get into uni [I did all of my A Levels in one year]. I loved the experience and the concept of ‘actual’ university. However, I thought it was a royal waste of time. I was paying the same amount as everyone else there but just felt like I was getting nothing out of it. SO, before the end of my first year I left.
Fast forward to today. I am currently one module away from finishing my first year at the University of Arden. It is a distance university [similar to the Open University – just SO much better]. I am loving it, I am studying Psychology, Law and Human Resources Management. It’s amazing most noteworthy is that it is so much cheaper too.
What Sophie wishes she’d known:
Part of me would love to say GO TO UNIVERSITY WHEN I WAS 18 so that I could have ‘properly’ enjoyed the student lifestyle as many others do. I don’t think that is me. I have been lucky enough to have experienced SO many other things which I might not have been able to do if I had gone to university.
But the main thing is TAKE YOUR TIME because there is no rush and you do not have to go straight to University. I know for me, apart from the university that I am at now, I rush chose where I was going and what I was doing.
What she’d do differently:
Actually NO, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I have learnt so much as a result of the things that I have chosen to do. Leaving my second degree was such a huge decision and massive risk but as a result of it I have the most amazing job. I have been able to save enough money to put a deposit on a house.
You do not have to go straight to University. Take time and decide what you would like to do and where you would like to go.
Hi! Let me introduce myself, I’m Rosie, 22, blogger at www.rosiesx.com and part time student at The Open University. If you’re not familiar with the Open University then it’s a long distant university where we study whilst working full time.
I’m currently a student in my first year studying a BA in Business Management at The Open University.
What Rosie wishes she’d known:
READ THE GUIDANCE NOTES!! Open University offer guidance notes for a reason. I’ve been stuck on some super easy questions had I read the guidance notes.
What she’d do differently:
I wouldn’t have transferred to a brick university and transferred back. Open University is for life and a brick university wasn’t all it lived up to be as a 22-year-old LOL.
Study hard and keep on top of things, it stops stress massively.
My name is Melanie! I am currently at the very end of my Open University degree studying Business Studies, finishing in September. The degree has taken me four years to complete, whilst working four days a week in Logistics management.
What Melanie wishes she’d known:
I wish before I started my degree with the Open University, I truly understood the implications and struggles that come with distance learning because distance learning can at times be very isolating. When you may have only one or two lectures a month it can be very hard to self-motivate yourself. Having said that, the determination and resilience I have now built has been a lifelong lesson. I now feel through self-motivation I can achieve anything that I put my mind to.
What she’d do differently:
First of all, I regretted not going to university when I was eighteen because it may have helped me progress through my career faster also studying through the Open University has enabled me to build valuable work experience and gain a qualification.
I wish I truly understood the implications and struggles that come with distance learning.
I hope you have enjoyed this third installment in my ‘What I Wish I’d Known’ University series.
Make sure you check out the other posts in the series and in relation to university:
University: What I Wish I’d Known (Part One)
University: What I Wish I’d Known (Part Two)
University: What I Wish I’d Known (Part Four)
Fresher’s Week, Friend or Foe?
University, 9 Years Ago; An Interview
University, 13 Years Ago; An Interview
University Alternative, MOOC; An Interview
University Saving Tips and Tricks, Part One
University Saving Tips and Tricks, Part Two
University Bookshelf Tour
My University Experience So Far