I have almost finished Chapter Six of Book One: The Water Cycle. Again, it is information I’m revisiting from school, but it is a welcome reminder – both of the facts, and the singular re-realisation that our planet is just incredible.
The carbon cycle comes next, and progress is good. Then I have to take a test. Two, in fact! A computer-marked assessment (which I inadvertently started the other day – I hope it hasn’t buggered up my chances of submitting it properly!) and a tutor-marked assignment, that I hope I can put into the correct format.
I’m still having trouble remembering the scientific conventions, and maths is frightening me slightly, but I’m getting there.
One of the recent activities – activity 4.3 – asked us to review our progress so far, referring back to the study plan we made at the beginning. I’m quite pleased with my progress; I’m slightly ahead of schedule and not spinning around in panic. This is Good.
The course also wants us to read “actively”. I do this anyway, or I find I retain nothing. Making notes of what I think are the salient points as I go along is my technique. Read a paragraph; summarise the main points. Draw a diagram here and there to illustrate my words.
Time management, I am beginning to find, is going to be crucial to success during this degree. At the moment, my week looks like this – and it’s going pretty well:
- Monday – an hour’s study after work (usually 6.30 – 7.30)
- Tuesday – an hour at lunchtime, and an hour after work
- Wednesday – an hour after work
- Thursday – an hour at lunchtime (yoga in the evening, d’you see?)
- Friday – two hours after work
- Saturday – 2-3 hours in the morning, 2-3 hours in the afternoon
- Sunday – 2-3 hours in the morning, 2-3 hours in the afternoon
It really helps that I’m enjoying it! I do worry slightly about the weekends I’m away – like this coming weekend, for example. We’re at a birthday party, which is likely to get raucous, on Friday night, then I’m at a hen party on the Saturday and in the evening. So Sunday is (hungover) study day. But I’m far enough ahead, I hope.
Active reading isn’t just note making though – I tend to discuss what I’ve learned with Joe. He asks me questions, sometimes to clarify what I’ve said, and sometimes picking random (and obscure) facts from the book to test me on.
I think the book could do with more questions and mini-tests – I find them very useful, to check that I’ve really understood what they’re trying to teach us. The activities have been excellent – not too taxing, and perfectly designed to make us constantly review and revisit what we’re learning.
All in all: not too shabby.
I’m looking forward to Thursday night. It’s our first tutorial. Bring on the OU student fellowship!
/Coming soon: a guest blog about a Very Strange Lunchtime.