Saturday, 29 November 2014

Another 3053 to Go!

I've woken up on the sofa of my postal address in Brixham to the sound of those effing gulls and a big wet good morning kiss, from Baxter, the dog with an ASBO tattoo.   His tiny bit of mixed breeding makes the big soft lump a pit bull!  I had a lovely night out that involved beer and belly pork.  It can't be bad.  On the way home this morning I'll be popping into Red Mel's as, dear of her, she's offered to cook breakfast for me.  Then the drudgery begins.   It's back to the van, where fuelled by tea, I'm holing myself up for a long hard weekend of essay writing.  947 words out of four thousand on paper with a deadline of 12 December.  That's not very far away at all.

Aside from it giving me an entitlement to an NHS Extra card, I'm not really that enamoured with life as a distance learning student on a masters course. Sure I have a tutor on the end of the phone and for picking his brains by email but studying in the absence of other learners is a lonesome experience.  I don't need the social life that an ordinary university experience would entail.  I have one of those that's a bit hard to keep up with anyway!  But it would be lovely to have fellow learners around to bounce around ideas, play with concepts, tell me I'm going down completely the wrong track.  Often I seem to be the only person registered on a particular module so there's not even electronic contact to be had.  Take this into account if you're ever thinking of going down the same route.  It makes the learning that much harder.

Then there's critical analysis.  Normally I love writing, just popping onto paper whatever spews out of the old noggin.   It's why I blog. This stuff though is different.  Every sentence has to be critiqued and references found in dry, dull academic journals to substantiate what's been said. I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to embellish my work with the funny things that have happened in my life, or indeed a joke or two.  It's hard and boring, a horrible combination of adjectives.

In the current absence of a clinical career structure within the part of the NHS where I work,  I have to keep reminding myself why I'm doing this.   There are good reasons that don't involved extrinsic personal gain.  The study has already improved my practice, benefited individuals that I work with and spurred me on to be more active at strategic level, getting some of my new acquired ideas across.  My learning gives my voice a teeny bit of extra authority.   I'm also putting together a set of new knowledge that will allow me to devise a way of working with people with advanced dementias .   Someone the other day commented after a post that finding information as the illness advances is difficult.  Well,  in a small way I'll be hoping to rectify that.  The essays are just an inconvenient part of the wider learning that I'm doing  that I hope is for the greater good.  So I'll keep plugging away, shall I?  One thing's certain.  This is the last big batch of formal study that I think I'm ever going to commit myself to.


  1. It sounds as though your course is very useful for you, make a cup of tea, get some chocolate biscuits and just keep going! I don't know if you have come across the website Zen Habits, but there are some great articles in the archives which suggest ways to keep yourself motivated. Don't spend all dat reading the archives, though! I am an arch procrastinator and a fine one to give advice!! Have tried distance learning with the OU and know what you mean about having no other students to bounce ideas off. It's really hard to make the time around work and just having a life!

  2. Good luck. I was a non traditional student as well, fitting in homework and essays amongst life. It is hard with so much swirling in our brains as proper grownups, to concentrate on getting the words on paper. What worked for me was to write hard and fast-little to no editing along the way, and then set aside a complete first draft for 1/2 to a full day, giving my brain a rest, then go about the editing. I found I was my worst enemy during the writing, but if I had something kind of complete to start with, the final project could be worked and improved during the editing process. I go with Charlotte's suggestion and grab that tea, and look forward to something stronger when done.

  3. Love Zen Habits. Fuelled by tea I've done a reasonable amount today. Thanks for all the encouragement! x

  4. Glad you've had a productive day. I found it hard being at uni with people who didn't want to discuss ideas and wouldn't contribute. There were occasions when it was just me and the tutor talking to each other!

  5. I admire your commitment and your fortitude. Keep pegging away at it, there is and end to the tunnel, don't forget.