I’m an Open University student. I’m about to enter the penultimate year of my six-year English Literature degree and I can not wait for it to be over.
Seven years ago I left school with the intention of working for a year, doing a bit of travelling and then heading off to uni. But to cut a rather long story short I discovered I was actually pretty good at the Web Production malarkey and so I withdrew my university application and started work as the Web Producer for Your Horse in March 2008.
However, my school had spent the previous five years of my life telling me that if I didn’t have a degree I had failed as a human being. (Okay they didn’t quite use those words but that was the general gist, I’m sure of it). So even though I was stoked to have this brilliant job, I felt like I’d somehow cheated to get there. So the next logical step for me was distance learning.
Now, five years later I’ve studied so much literature I feel like I have books falling out of my ears. William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, Creative Writing, the Romantics, the Renaissance, James Joyce, John Webster, Aphra Benn, Wordsworth, Voltaire, De Quincey… All whilst trying to carve out a career in digital publishing. I honestly feel relieved it’s all coming to an end.
And yet at the same time I’m quite sad about it. By the time I graduate next June, I’ll have spent seventeen consecutive years studying: entrance exams, Junior School year finals, GCSEs, A-levels and now the degree. And to be totally honest I don’t know what I’ll do next. Evenings and weekends for me have been taken up with reading and studying – I’m going to have so much free time I just don’t know what I’ll do with it all. There are quite a lot of hobbies that have had to be sidelined lately to make room for studying so obviously they’ll come back into my life but it feels odd not to be told what to do.
Would I recommend Open University to full time workers? Absolutely. It’s exhausting, time-consuming, stressful and emotional. But it is without a doubt one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever undertaken. And if it’s the time it takes to complete that’s putting you off – don’t let it. That time is going to pass anyway, whether you’re doing a degree or not.