Newfangled Studying


So Open University term officially started on Saturday 28th. The first block of the module was understandable, and I wrote notes. But do I feel as though it’s sinking in? Well, that’s the question. Less than a week, and already the anxiety over my abilities to study are rising.

We’re supposed to study, on average, 16 hours a week (16-18). My fist week I did 13.5. So I’ve immediately started questioning whether I’m putting the time in. Was there something else I was supposed to be doing? Is this lack of time indicative of my crapness at studying? It was a fairly simple introductory block, but still. With this week comes Block 2, which is a step up in its complexity and delves into the evolution of computers. When I’ve finished, I guess I’ll see if that’s caused me to up my hours.

While we study, we’re supposed to keep a Learning Journal. This is another anxiety trigger. Throughout my previous BSc and MSc studies I never kept one, it was something that was never discussed by anyone (I’m guessing it’s a recently introduced American construction), and yet, despite not having one, I passed my subjects. So now I’m stuck worrying about this new thing. Am I doing it right? Am I supposed to be making more detailed notes in it? The OU provides an example of a Learning Journal entry, but as what they’ve provided was an example of an entry made after a tutorial, as opposed to a couple of hours study, I was left to try and adapt it. After a bit of a Google search, I found some post-study examples, and what I’ve done does look fairly similar. However, I do question the usefulness of a Learning Journal and what it’s supposed to achieve. It’s like, yeah, I’ve just spent two hours reading about online safety…my notes could tell you that! To be honest, I don’t put much truck in it, but I’ll keep up with it I guess.

Then there’s the whole ‘active reading’ thing. The OU bangs on about how we should be ‘actively reading’ the text. What does that really mean? I don’t really know. And if I don’t really know, how can I do it effectively? And does not doing it effectively mean I’m going to fail? *awooga awooga anxiety alert*. I’ve read their stuff about note-taking and the like. There’s buzz phrases like: ‘actively engage with the text’, which, as far as I can tell, is just a fancy way of saying: read the text, highlight the text, make notes, answer the in-text questions. Which is what I’m doing.

I suppose, at the end of the day, I need to remember this: I have 4 A-levels, 1 BSc, and 1 MSc. I achieved this by writing notes, and then studying them before an exam. All these newfangled study methods aren’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to passing a module (I hope).

Still waiting for the pencil case I won during Freshers Week.


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