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Posts Tagged ‘study’

  1. A decision on my choices, choices and also I’m a grumpy fuck

    July 14, 2010 by superlative

    I’ve been thinking more about what course I might want to do from the selection that I identified before, and I think I might have reached a decision. I’ve been trying to get someone else to decide for me, as that’s what I usually do, but unfortunately no one else can make this decision on my behalf and they all seem aware of that fact, which is really rather inconvenient.

    I got a reply back (eventually) from the University of Leicester that basically said yes I can apply for the American Foreign Policy MA with my degree because they look at the “whole application including how you demonstrate relevant interest and experience”. So basically I can apply for it, but I’d need to show what experience and interest I have in American Foreign Policy. Aside from “I find it really interesting” and “I’ve read books about American politics”, I don’t actually have a lot I can say for that part though. Also, applying for an MA is rather involved and would mean getting two references from my former lecturers, filling in all sorts of crap on forms and photocopying lots of transcripts and things. So I kind of went off the idea at that point: I like American history and politics, but I don’t think I love it so much that I can even be bothered to complete the application process, let alone risk getting rejected for lack of relevant experience.

    I was also a bit put off by the notion of having to write hugely long essays again, and doing ‘online presentations’ for the MA course, whatever that means. I hate presentations though and always have done.

    So I think, I think I want to start with a maths module at the Open University. I’d start with just one (as they recommend), and then if I like it and I am coping OK with the workload I can pick up a second one in February and overlap them, and qualify for a Certificate in Mathematics within a year. That would give me something to work towards and something to show for it within one year. I could then consider whether I want to continue down the maths route, do a module in a different subject for a change, or just stop if I’m not enjoying it or my circumstances have changed. If I’m enjoying the maths I can do another two modules and get a Diploma, and build it up bit by bit like that.

    What’s putting me off a tiny bit still is that the first module costs £370, which is quite a lot if I decide I hate it or don’t complete it or whatever. I don’t think it’s bad value, because it runs from October to June and covers loads of material, but I’m not feeling that flush with money at the moment and we’re meant to be saving up to buy a flat, and any big hits of expenditure I make like this affect my ability to put money into my savings.

    So that’s kind of where I’m at. I think I know what I want to do, but I hate taking the plunge and committing to anything in case it’s the wrong decision. I know, I’m such an exciting and spontaneous person. In a way it would be better if I just signed up, because then they send you a revision pack of all the maths stuff you ought to know before starting the module, and that would give me something to work on that would help with my chronic boredom and lack of fulfilment over the summer.

    Which brings me on neatly to the second part of my post: GOD I’m a grumpy, grumpy fuck and I don’t like it. Because I’ve been so bored at work lately, and because I basically have no mental stimulation and take no exercise, my moods in the evenings have been terrible. I’m just grumpy and grouchy the whole time, and the only thing that cheers me up even slightly is eating and drinking booze. Both of these things aren’t particularly good for me to do to excess, obviously. And yesterday I started to think I must be such awful company for Chris in the evenings. I know he gets fed up with my moodiness, although he doesn’t tend to give me a particularly hard time over it, he just occasionally gives me a little prod that I’m in a bad mood again. But I thought what if, at some point, he gets really REALLY fed up with it, and I haven’t noticed and by then it’s too late? I don’t want him to think “God this person is horrible to live with, he used to be fun and now he’s just like his depressing, petty witch of a mother”. What would happen then? Yes we’re married and committed, but I also know he’s far too rational and far too strong-willed to put up with me making him unhappy. He’s a really upbeat, energetic person, and I feel like I’m turning into a big millstone around his neck.

    So, having had these really rather upsetting revelations (I’m actually crying slightly as I type this, which is a bit annoying given I’m in the office, but don’t worry I just cry really easily anyway – another of my attractive qualities), I’m going to try TRY to do something about it. I’m an intelligent person and I know how to look at my own behaviour objectively, so that’s what I need to do.

    I shall try not to be so grumpy, particularly when there’s no actual cause for it other than me being a bit unfulfilled.

    I shall try to be nicer to him.

    And I shall try to be more fun and to make the effort to do more things when invited rather than saying “no you go, I’m too tired, I’m not in the mood”.

    So there. That’s it. I’m a grumpy fuck and I don’t like it, and I might do a maths course. I could have just summarised this 1,000-word blog post into that sentence really.


  2. Choices, choices, choices

    June 29, 2010 by superlative

    I have been looking at some of my options this morning for what study I could undertake, and I have ended up overwhelming myself a little with the possibilities. Unfortunately I’m interested in quite a lot of different things, and as has been the case for me for years and years I have no particularly strong desire to do one thing over another.

    The main options that I have identified so far are:

    • A BSc(Hons) in Mathematics at the Open University
      I’m quite keen on this, as I like maths very much and I think I’d find it challenging. Being the Open University, I also have the option of not completing the whole degree if I don’t want to, and instead claiming a Certificate or a Diploma depending on how far through I get. However the downside is that I may not like some of the later maths modules when it starts to get very abstract and theoretical; I’m not sure I want to embark on a course that will take up to six years to complete; and I already have a BA, so a further undergraduate degree is perhaps not especially valuable.
    • A BSc(Hons) in lots of different things at the Open University but featuring quite a few maths modules
      This is similar to the above, but as it’s the Open University you can choose to combine quite different courses and achieve what they call an ‘Open Degree’ at the end that isn’t in any one thing. So I could do some of the maths modules I want to study, and I could also do some other things like maybe some language courses (either new ones or to brush my French back up), some computing modules, a politics module, and even a geology module (told you I was interest in diverse things).
    • An MA in French Language and Culture at Kings College, University of London by distance learning
      This would basically be a continuation from where my degree left off, and would bring my French back up to a high level and then take it further. It’s a more obvious course to take after my degree, and it’s postgraduate so I’d get that masters I’ve been coveting. I’m not totally sure I want to study the French any more than I already have done though.
    • An MA in Translation Studies at the University of Portsmouth by distance learning
      Similar to the above, this would let me continue my language study but in a more applied way. I’ve studied translation before and worked as a translator for a while, so it might be OK. Translation theory is a bit dull though, and if I’m studying for pleasure and academic fulfilment rather than to get a job out of it I’m not sure if this is the right course for me.
    • An MA in American Foreign Policy at the University of Leicester by distance learning
      I found this one this morning and was quite keen on it straight away. I’m really interested in American history and politics, and this course would allow me to study some of that at postgraduate level. You have a choice of modules, so you can choose the aspects that most interest you (for instance I could do the role of the presidency, or a module on intelligence and security). As with the other two MAs above, I could do this course in two years rather than the six for the Open University degrees, and it’s an MA.
      I’m not sure if my degree would qualify me to apply for this course though, as their entry requirements are a degree in history, politics, international relations or a related discipline. My languages degree featured quite a lot of history and politics, and so I’ve emailed them to ask if it would be suitable.

    So you see, I have a lot that I could do, and still no idea what I am actually going to do. I hadn’t looked around properly for distance learning MAs before today, and that’s thrown me a bit. It was only because I realised just how much an Open University degree would cost me and how long it would take that prompted me to have a look – before I’d thought if I’m not going to do an MA at Sussex or Brighton (where I can do them for free) then it’s not financially worth it. But given I was considering spending up to £5,000 in total at the Open University that suddenly became less of a consideration.

    Oh I don’t know. I’m still confused. I’ll wait and see what Leicester say. The OU still has the advantage that I can just do a module or modules for fun and then stop if I get a new job or I can’t afford it any more.

    Choices, choices, choices, far too many choices.