The best laid schemes o’Mice an’ Men',
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
(The best laid schemes of Mice and men
oft go awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain
For promised joy!)
Robert Burns, To a Mouse (Poem, November, 1785)
That well-known poem and my previous post, An Unwelcome Break, explain the excuses behind my failure to keep up with promised Study Progress Reports. But to keep things neat and tidy here I am with the final post on, and happy conclusion of, my Openings Course in Psychology with the Open University.
After the first assignment, I had finished Chapter Four and was about to start on Chapter Five when we went on that lovely weekend in Oxfordshire with my daughter. Thinking that I was well on track and we were only away for one night, I left all my OU course books and notes at home.
For the first few days in hospital I was too pre-occupied with shock and pain to worry much about the OU course, but as the days went by and I was still there, I began to worry about the time I was losing and a chain of willing friends and visitors managed to bring me all the bits and bobs necessary for me to carry on studying. But being in a four-bed hospital ward, with all the concomitant noise, bustle and distraction, plus not feeling quite up to par, was not very conducive to proper concentration – and I did nothing. I was there for just over two weeks, and then spent a week immersed in working out how to negotiate our house – with one and two halves sets of stairs – and cope without putting any weight at all on one foot.
Finally, having lost just over three weeks, I opened the books and my notes again and re-immersed myself in Chapter Five. But by now the recommended deadline for the submission of the second TMA (Tutor Marked Assignment) was only days away and that involved material included to the end of Chapter 6. Panic was beginning to set in.
With a combination of advice from my tutor and support from the OU, I was advised that I could still be deemed to have completed the course and qualify for a ‘pass’ if I completed at least three out of the four marked assignments. They suggested that, in the circumstances, I miss out the TMA2, and concentrate on the End of Module and Online Assignments to be sure of finishing in time.
So that’s what I did. But I was disappointed to rush through those chapters five and six, and I don’t think the EMA would have been as daunting and difficult if I had had the experience and feedback from the second TMA. But having said that, luck was on my side in the subject matter for the last assignment. After all, what could be more interesting that examining the statement that ‘Happiness comes from outside and within’? Not only was this one of the issues covered in the course that had particularly fascinated me, but also all the evidence necessary to write the answer was contained in Chapters 2 and 4 – which I had studied before my little shock. So gathering together all the information - which basically said that whilst the internal factors of diet, exercise and genetic disposition can affect levels of happiness, as can the external influences of early attachments, family relationships and social environment, that by making changes to either, levels of happiness can still be increased or decreased accordingly - was stimulating and almost fun. But actually transforming that into an academically written essay and including all the correctly referenced evidence was quite laborious and stressful. As yet I have had no feedback – which is probably a good thing, as I don’t have to tell you how well, or badly, I did :-)
Then came the on-line section. Chapters 8 and 9 were all worked on line. Chapter 8 broadly discussed Case Studies, Observations, Interviews and Surveys, and Experiments with a lot of information about how to use a computer and the Internet. Chapter 9 was concerned with the application of psychology to education, mental health, the criminal system and the workplace. The final On-line Assignment was a 20 question multiple-choice questionnaire with a large proportion of the questions being on the use of the computer and the Internet. Unfortunately, being a bit of a Nelly Know-all, I got a bit cocky with the computer questions and got three wrong. :-(
But that’s it. It is done.
And the question is what next?
To carry on to a full degree in Psychology, whilst very tempting, would take me way away from my creative writing - and threaten to leave me with little time to do that at all. So I investigated other options and found that with the OU I could do a BA in English Literature with a ‘Focus on Creative Writing', but that would take me six years and cost me at least £12,500.
In the meantime, apart from learning to walk again (when I am allowed to start!), I will get back to short stories, competitions and a few more regular blog posts – and possibly look at doing another one-off short openings course.
Wishing a belated, but heartfelt, very happy and healthy 2013 to all.