So I’m a student.
I’m now officially knee-deep in proper studenthood for the first time in 12 years. Back to the research, assignments, tutorials and choosing nice ring binders.
Of course this time around things are very different.
Last time, I began uni at the tender age of 18. I had no idea what I wanted or how to get it. I knew nothing about university being the first person in my family as far back as I can see to go to university. I did English and Philosophy to degree level because I liked them and that seemed a fair enough approach. I did an MA in English because I didn’t know what else to do.
When I studied, it was to do well in examinations rather than out of any great love or insight into the subject. Yet occasionally I got quite involved and tended to do well (my Masters thesis on how Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest influenced camp pop culture in the 20th century is rather fun; how many thesis get to squash Kylie, Frasier, Pet Shop Boys and Diana Ross tracks as evidence?).
This time round, things are quite different. It’s a subject I’m interested in, assessment is activity-based rather than silly exams, its about technology in education, it’s bloody expensive… but I’m finding it hugely interesting (to the detriment of flickr, last.fm, facebook and ze blog).
After a difficult start, the brain has kicked in, and I’m very happily spending a Friday night researching online (another big change from 12 years ago), contributing to the online forums (instead of face-to-face tutorials) and uploading podcasts and video podcasts as assignments. After only 8 weeks, I’m using what I’m learning at work (being quite vocal at meetings and seminars, filled with ideas to implement) and thinking that this lifelong learning lark is actually very blinking good.
I have nothing but praise for the Open University by the way (until I get a crap mark, and then I’ll hate them!). And I don’t have to go out with scruffy youth and drink cheap beer and cop off by default with the only other gay in the village.
Education, peeps, just do it!