This week has been a bit of a hectic one for me, with OU study thrown in as an added bonus of course. There were lots of sections of my life that needed sorting out, either changing completely or spring cleaning. My world had become a bit of a tip and it was well overdue a good dust and polish. I wouldn’t exactly say it’s been polished to perfection yet, but I’d say I’m well on the way to getting it squeaky clean.
As for OU, well, I’ve been focusing on TMA04, like I wanted to, and reading the relevant chapters from the textbooks for that. I decided, when looking at the assignment question for the first time, that I’d do the first option which concerned Irish nationalism because Shostakovich’s music seemed something I’d have no clue about or interest in. After reading the Ireland chapter, though, I felt even more confused than I had before I’d started it. The assignment question asks for information on language and symbols. The language was no problem – it was mentioned every five seconds so I had loads of notes – but I couldn’t find any information about symbols, except one line. I don’t think one line for a 1200 word essay would really cut it. So I decided to stop frying my brain and start reading the Shostakovich chapter. I finished that, also, and feel a little happier with that one than the Ireland one. So it looks like I’ll have to reconsider my choice on assignment option purely on the fact I have no idea what I’m doing with the first option and a tiny clue with the second. Hopefully that tiny clue can form into a coherent essay and plan before February 5th. I’m currently doubtful about that so will spend every motivated second next week and the following week dragging something together.
Even though the assignment is a bit of a sore subject, both chapters I’ve gone through for it haven’t been too bad. I mean, I’ve been generally pretty knackered this week anyway, which is purely my own doing, so I felt quite bored and tired reading them. To be fair, though, after last weekend coming back to OU study was never going to be massive bundles of overexcited joy. But overall the chapters weren’t too bad. I’m still slightly baffled as to why you have to study half this stuff if you’re headed for a Literature degree, which a lot of members on the OU Facebook group are. I probably should’ve gone for a Literature degree, too, but mixed modules still seems like a good idea, even if it over-complicates everything. But I need a challenge right now, something to keep me focused, so I guess everything is coming at the right point. I may have made a hash up of a lot of things, causing a lot of hurt in the process, but I think I’m making the right decisions for myself. Maybe that’s a bit selfish but I want to take everything this life has to give. I don’t want to miss out on any opportunities out there, even if they’re the smallest most worthless wastes of time. They’ll be an experience and something to add to the “things I did” list whether they’re good or bad. Maybe OU is just another one of those experiences. I don’t know the answer to that one yet but maybe in a few years I will.
Similar to last week, I still haven’t had any acknowledgement from the OU that they’re even bothering to look into my broken PDF issue with the poetry anthology. I’d really hoped that I’d hear something from the visual impairment adviser this week as it’s the second working week back in January. I’ve lost all sense of caring about it because I’ve raised the issue with them so many times and every time all they say is that I’m waiting for this adviser to get back to me. My previous experience with him seems to be proving too true again. I don’t want to be pessimistic about him or the whole situation because, with everything, I’m pretty happy right now. But it is pretty frustrating that I haven’t even had an email from him to apologise and say he’s ridiculously busy with the new recruiting students. I mean, that would irritate me too, seeing as I’ve been waiting like 2 months to hear from him, but at least something would have been welcomed. I feel like I might scream at him if he ever gets back to me, which I know is selfish but I’m pretty fed-up with the whole situation at the moment. How hard can it be to get a published poetry anthology in an accessible format?
On a more upbeat note, with another week passing, I’m thrown ever closer to the start date of K101, my second module. The 6th of February is fast approaching and I’m really looking forward to it. Again, more work will keep me focused and doing something practical with my life. I won’t just be wasting my days watching Jeremy Kyle and reading comical autobiographies when this second module starts. I don’t think I’ll have time to breathe let alone watch daytime TV. That’s OK, though, because that was all a part of this crazy plan.
The module website for K101 opened on Thursday. I was hoping to be able to see the assignment booklet, study companion and PDF versions of our course materials. I was being far too impatient, apparently, because none of that seems to be available yet. The despach dates for the print materials was 13th of January ready for 30 January. I haven’t received anything yet so will wait patiently. It says on my student profile all about my accessibility requirements so I know they know what I need. Fingers crossed the module starts on a positive note, though, because I don’t want my optimism ruined by accessibility issues. That got me pretty down with my current module so I don’t really want to have to do that again. Apparently, according to a lady I spoke to from the K101 student support team, most if not all of our module materials will be available on the website in accessible formats. So I’m clinging onto what she said and praying she’s right. I don’t fancy another battle of “yes, yes I know you’ve sent me the print copies of the books but unfortunately, due to the fact that I’m registered blind, I can’t see them. Your font 12 isn’t really big enough for me.”. I’m never too sure why they can’t understand that. But I will continue doing my best to be patient and understanding.
Tutorial details aren’t available yet either. I can’t really remember with Aa100 how things worked. It seems so long ago and a whole roller coaster has been ridden since. So much has changed in my life since October and that first month of getting used to how things worked with OU seems such a blur looking back. Hopefully, as I seem to be doing things at a good level with Aa100, when it comes round to starting K101 I’ll start on a good foot. I shouldn’t be anywhere near as clueless as I was starting the first time round, anyway. If not, I’ll just ask my new tutor lots of questions. Hopefully they’re as understanding, helpful and accommodating as my Aa100 tutor has been. When we had our first conversation, the line “well I haven’t really dealt with a blind student before…” kinda terrified me. Now I know she was probably just as terrified as I was and I don’t blame her really. I’m sure my accessibility queries have taught her a thing or two. As long as I haven’t been too much of a pain or burden for her I’ll be happy. She’s been good to me, though, and very eager to understand how things work for me; I’m very grateful for that because she didn’t have to try so hard. I’ve heard of lots of OU students having awful tutors. I think I’d cope alright from now onwards, as I have a fraction of experience in what I’m doing, but I think I definitely would have dropped out if my first tutor had been uncooperative and/or unwilling to try to understand.
So for the next two weeks leading up to the start of K101 I will work hard on Aa100 just so I’m up-to-date with that when my work load doubles. If I’m behind with Aa100 then it’s most likely that progression with K101 will be slow. Our first assessment for that is due in on 25 February, only 19 days after we start the module so I’m hopeful it won’t be anything too long or difficult. Either way, I’ll just have to work flat out on both modules to get everything done. I want this degree, now more than ever, and I don’t intend on letting anything stop me in that aim. I want to prove quite a few people wrong; I want to show that actually, although they thought I’d never do it and it’d be a shambles, actually I can do exactly what I intended. I want to have the degree to wave in their faces and just to be able to say “yeah, I got a degree with the Open University working from home and not letting every other aspect of my life wait for me”. So although quite a few things have changed this week and it’s been a pretty emotional one all round, I feel more empowered and motivated than I ever have to do this thing. I want a decent job, a little place I can call my own with a picket fence and a back garden. I would just like any ordinary life, really, surrounded by the people I love. Seeing as most people want to be mega rich and famous, I’m hopeful that’s not too much to ask.