Image showing a person studyingThis time last year, I was just about to start studying with a rival university I can't possibly mention...  Oh ok, go on then!  I was about to start a 30 credit unit in Website Technologies with the Open University.  I didn't launch straight into it, I thought about it for a good 12 months but got to the point where I couldn't embarrass myself by mentioning it in another SDPR meeting without actually showing I was willing to commit- so it was time.

A large part of my hesitation to study was the cost - tuition fees as we know, are expensive.  There was also the fear of failure and imposter syndrome.  Finally, there was the issue of time I would need to study, which I wasn't really that bothered by although it turned out to be the hardest aspect (spoiler!).

Image of Rosie (the author) looking scared So, I got around the fee issue by applying for funding through the Faculty budget.  I was hoping that I would get a percentage paid for but was exceptionally lucky due to some funding from another pot being available and I had the whole thing paid for by the faculty.  Lucky right?!

Yes, it was certainly wonderful to feel I had the backing from the faculty although it did substantially increase my fear of failure.  I would be letting others down in addition to myself.  I do like an incentive though.

So the reality was that it was a lot more work than I was anticipating.  I won't lie, it was VERY stressful at times to study alongside a full-time job and other commitments.  But there were so many positive outcomes that it was 100% worth it.  Here are some of those:

  • I learnt loads of new skills and expanded my mind
  • I reinforced some information that I thought I might know
  • I had a focus and a goal
  • My marks were far better than my BA grades- I read the marking criteria!
  • I got to have a peek at the OU's VLE (Moodle equivalent)
  • I felt confidence through learning

My advice is to stop hesitating if you want to learn something new.  Ask for available funding- I can't guarantee that you'll get it, but if you never ask you definitely won't.  Be honest with yourself about the time you need and prepare your loved ones for this- you will need their support!

Posted in: Staff experiences