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.