I have applied for, paid for, and registered for a course with the Open University. It's called "An Introduction to the Humanities" and I believe it's a base-level course. I chose one at that level because I haven't done anything resembling study for over 6 years, and even in school I didn't study or work much. I want to do this right; I may not get another chance and it's costing money (Thanks, Mum!). I'm hoping to study for a degree in English Literature. We'll see if I have the oomph to follow through, though. I don't know yet. And I may choose to do something else. You never know.
A large parcel arrived the weekend before Christmas, when Dave Sankey was here. It contained a bunch of textbooks, a booklist, a timetable of when I need to tape TV shows, and some other Student Information stuff. I managed to buy three of my four set books; Open University's The Arts Good Study Guide, The Wide Sargasso Sea, and Pygmalion. Medea is proving harder to find, in the right edition.
I had to read a couple of chapters of The Arts Good Study Guide for my first assignment, and found it to be, well, not very useful. But it did tell me that my left-hand margin should be 5cm wide. Or maybe another piece of literature told me that. Anyway. I'm sure I haven't read it properly; I'm sure that there must be some way of reading to extract useful information. Maybe it's one of the things I'll learn on the course.
The pack also contained details for my first assignment, which was "Write five hundred words on the following extract". I wrote my assignment over the course of three days (yes, three days!) and Niamh read it at irregular intervals and commented. (My little sister is a real student and knows all about assignments. She helped my buy stationery when we went to Staples). I wrote my assignment, formatted it using StarOffice (it's over two pages long with those margins!) and posted it to my assigned tutor with the relevant forms in triplicate (comment forms. One for me, one for the university, and one for my tutor).
It's hard to write 500 words. 250 was no problem. 650 was no problem. 500 was difficult.
I have tutorials every second Wednesday in a local school. I have no idea what it'll be like - a lecture? a classroom? a workshop? I suppose a lot of this depends on how many people there are in my tutor group. I'm a little nervous. It involves getting a bus to a part of town I've never been to before, in the dark. I'm a little nervous about that too.
It's all very exciting. I have lots of new toys - A4 pads, ring binders, index card boxes, cassettes, slidebinders for handing in assignments . . . I wish I could believe that that meant I was prepared.