Story Telling

Studying with The Open University

I’m a relatively quiet person – this is fairly evident from how little I interact on social media. It’s not that I don’t like to socialise, it’s more that I never know what to say. I tend to look inward for meaning in my life and generally keep my thoughts to myself, which makes me come across as a little awkward at times. When I’m not interacting, I’m busy learning from all of those tweets, statuses, posts and new headlines. From a very young age that passion to learn, has been one of the main driving forces in my life – that was until my children came alone.

When I had my children, I made a vow to myself. I promised that at some point, I would bite the bullet and start studying again, whatever it took. Being a mother is all well and good – it’s a challenging, awe-inspiring, beautiful and stressful experience that can take you on many a journey but I knew that at some point along the road, I would need something more. That is why two weeks ago, I started my first course with the Open University.

It’s a short course, designed to ‘break me in gently’ to the world of academic study, essay structuring, correct referencing and all the rest. It took some courage to make that step, given that it’s been nine years since I did any form of studying! Now however, I’m skipping across the pages of “Introducing Psychology”, and loving every second of it. It’s almost empowering to know that once more, that constant thirst for knowledge is being satisfied and my brain is engaging with something that is truly challenging my thoughts, making me pause, think, reflect and move on. I found writing my first essay difficult at first, but then the years of English coursework came flooding back to me and for once I felt comfortable. I could do this, I had made the right choice!

It’s strange how something so small, can have such a positive impact on your life isn’t it? We make one tiny decision in the grand scheme of things, but that decision can go on to open the way to something huge and inspiring. I now see the possibility of a degree in my future, something I had only dreamed of and who knows what may come after that? A career? More studying? The possibilities as they say, are endless.

What advice would you give to a mature student, who is studying for the first time? Perhaps you are one yourself. Do leave me a comment and share your wisdom!


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Filed under: Story Telling


Stacey's a Social Media Community Manager by day and a self-confessed Geek by night. With boy/girl twins and an older son, she's got mum hacks coming out of her ears. Likes: overpopulated book shelves and shiny things. Dislikes: wearing socks.


  1. Helloitsgemma says

    I was a mature student. I’d live to do further study. My advice would be stick with it and have confidence. I questioned if I could do it so many times. I kept reminding myself if an 18 year old who spends every night in a bar (I lived in a uni town I’ve seen supposedly the educational elite at 3 am). Anyhow if they can do it then I certainly can. And so can you. Good luck. Enjoy it. The sense of a chievement is brilliant x

    • You know I never looked at it that way! I remember one of my friends posting their Uni antics all over social media and thinking, how on earth can they do that and still study? It’s a comforting thought. Thank you so much for the advice – I’ll be sticking with it!

  2. Mum of One says

    Well done you! Sometimes I think I would love to do more study but I promised the husband, after the PhD nearly killed me, that I wouldn’t do any more. At least not for a long long time. I am not sure what advice I could give you but I know Cat over at Yellow Days has done some OU courses and am sure she could give you some pointers x

    • Thanks so much for your reply! I’ll be sure ask Cat how she found the studying. Crikey a PhD? To me that is epic, I couldn’t imagine how stressful that must have been and you say it nearly killed you – I hope you’re well now!

  3. Lyn says

    Congratulations on choosing the OU. I’m just finishing my degree with them. I have attended courses at brick universities but find that because all the materials from the OU have to be written or recorded for distance learning they are consistently clear and easy to study…unlike some traditional lectures. My tips would be…enjoy your learning and share your excitement with your family. They are the most important factor for OU student success :-)

    • Thank you for your words of wisdom Lyn! Coming from someone who has just finished a degree with the OU, the advice is priceless! I’m about halfway through now and getting into the swing of it. It really is an enjoyable experience and one that is still challenging. I have to use my brain at last! That can only be a good thing. What degree did you study, if you don’t mind me asking?

      • Lyn says

        I did a BA Open for love of learning. Finished in 09 but wanted to retrain so had to go back this year and top it up to a named honours: BA(Hons) Humanities with English Language. Hoping to start a MA to retrain next year (2014). How about you?

        • Lyn says

          LOL, I think my frustration at still being a student seeped out a bit then :-)

          • Hehe no worries! Certainly seems like you’ve been around the block when it comes to studying and here’s me just starting out! I’m currently doing an Introduction to Psychology to see if it’s something I’d like to go further with. It’s a fascinating subject, but my heart lies firmly with words and writing, so I think I’ll make my next module an English one. I’m leaning more and more towards the degree in English Literature & Language, as there is an optional module on creative writing. That would suit me down to the ground!

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