Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Being a student

Yesterday I had my end of module exam for Oceanography, my penultimate module before I hopefully graduate next summer with an Bsc Hons Open Degree.  As a teacher I constantly had to learn new material, master new technology and discover new ways to engage students.  When I stopped teaching it seemed a good idea to keep stretching myself in that way.

 I feel like our brains are either learning and growing, or they are forgetting and decaying and in this amazing world how can I ever be satisfied that I know about enough of it?  It doesn't take an accredited course to fulfil this drive, the same urge is present in all those who travel, learn an instrument, read, take up painting, have a passion for history, play a sport, or craft, or write, or participate in a thousand other ways of expanding our horizons that don't involve gently rotting night after night in front of tv soaps.

Whatever you study and whatever your goal, the difference between success and giving up is so often the support you receive from those around you.  So I'd like to say thank you to my family and friends who put up with me waffling on about baffling nonsense and bellyaching when the going was tough, and who didn't cut me off for neglecting them periodically.  And without Matt taking a day off work to look after the kids (and to be my chauffeur to the random exam venue in a football stadium) I wouldn't have been able to sit my exam at all, never mind the regular shared head scratching over equations and steady supply of tea and biscuits over the preceding years. 

So if you have a student in your life, whether a friend, spouse or child, please don't underestimate how important you are to them and keep on chivvying them along and helping them up when they're struggling.  Your support means the world to them.  And if you're thinking that you have a space in your life, perhaps empty time in the evenings, what are you waiting for, there are literally a million amazing things you could be doing that will bring you joy (and stress, but definitely joy too).

So for me, what next?  Well, I've signed up for a free short course on Soils to bring me down gently from study adrenaline, and come October my final module 'Understanding the Continents' begins.  I've already made space on a bookcase for my next lovely haul of textbooks and am looking forward to the honeymoon period of the course when it's all excitedly opening packages with no Tutor Marked Assignment in sight for weeks.