2018/9 academic year bullet journal title page

Dear First-Year-University-Student Me: An Open Letter

Dear Alys,

Last weekend quite a few people you know headed off to university: it’s that time of year that brings about fresh starts and big changes with the colouring, and falling, of the leaves. In a sense, this feels like more of a ‘new year’ than the actual New Year. And this weekend, you’ll also be driving up north to become a university student, in a tiny car bloated with the objects that make up your life.

In one way, it’s been a long time coming. You’ve had two years out of the traditional school system and have already left your teen years behind. You tried a distance learning degree, and even completed the first year, but you knew that wasn’t what you wanted to continue doing. So I think now is the right time. I don’t think many people ever feel completely ready to go to university, everyone has their own kinds of struggles, but I think at this point in time you’re as ready as you’ll ever be.

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It’s Okay to Change Your Mind About University

For many young people in the UK, today is results day – long-awaited and much-anticipated, futures are potentially steered in totally unforseen ways because of the letters that appear from within those envelopes on this notorious Thursday. Dreams, and hearts, are seemingly made or broken.

Facing Pressure

The amount of pressure put on eighteen year olds, by themselves and perhaps also the adults in their lives, can be immense. The idea that this is your one shot at having a ‘successful’ life, that grades are the be all and end all. The thought that time is running out and if you’re not on the starting line for the marathon that is conventional adult life (uni, working your way up some kind of career ladder, finding ‘the one’, moving into a flat and then a house with a mortgage, having a couple of kids, etc.) then you’re going to be left choking on the dust of everyone else’s victories.

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Why I Chose Distance Learning – Mental Health

Some of you may know I’ve been studying with the Open University, a distance learning institution, since October last year. I’ve been enjoying it a lot, but I’m not totally happy with every aspect of it, and last weekend I decided to apply for physical university, which, if I decide to go, would start this autumn. I wanted to write a post about why I might change to traditional uni, but that post wasn’t making much sense without the context to explain why I started studying with the OU in the first place.

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Why face-to-face tutorials are great for distance learners

Today I had my first ever face-to-face tutorial since the start of my distance learning course in October; I had no idea what to expect as I hiked my way up five floors of a local university building in search of my tutor. I was welcomed into a room as one of four students who had turned up, a situation the socially anxious part of me was relieved to discover. We took our seats and for the next two hours listened, thought about and discussed ideas from our current module topic.

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