In the midst of all of our uncertainty about what happens next in terms of where we live and what we do Davies and I have begun studying with the Open University. After lots of consideration, career quizzes, chatting to friends and discussions Davies decided to embark on an access course with the OU with the long term intention of doing a degree in psychology. We did a lot of research on various study options and the OU seemed a really good fit with our location and uncertainty about continued location, his personal aspirations both in terms of learning for learning’s sake and for a potential qualification for a career and as a good way of continuing with his lifelong style of an autonomous, at his own speed, fitted in around and as a part of his everyday life education. A few conversations with an adviser at the OU, some form filling (a first for him) and he was enrolled on the course way back in the spring ready to start now.
Which got me thinking… my own formal education ended with A levels. I didn’t intend it to, I had planned to travel and work for a year, maybe two and enjoy the freedom of being a young adult with a car and a part time job and autonomy over my time to finish work when I left the building rather than feeling a burden of studying hanging over my evenings and weekends. I was not entirely clear on what I wanted to be ‘when I grew up’ or which direction to take further studying so felt getting some life experience and adding to the careers section of my CV might be a better option than the qualifications section. I fully intended going back into education but knew that now was the the right time. The further I moved away from the friends who followed the route into university while I began working full time, climbing the career ladder via long hours at work and learning skills on the job, falling in love and buying a house at 20 the more the path I had deviated from looked less and less for me. I’ve always said that continuing my education was an option should I want to do it, regardless of my age although in latter years that has been more to illustrate a point when talking about Home Education and how not studying for exams as a teenager does not mean you can never do them if they become desirable at some point.
For me that point has arrived. I’m not sure if I’ll go beyond the access course – despite not needing to do an access course and being able to sign straight up for a degree I decided to do the access course. Partially because it felt like a great way to support Davies – to learn alongside him and work through the content together (although we have different tutors and will do our assessments independently of each other, it is so far proving really useful to both of us to be studying together) but mostly because I realised that I would feel quite envious of him doing it. The more I read the course information and learned about the way the OU works the more I felt it was something I wanted to do too, for me. I may yet decide I’m still not ready to commit to studying for a degree and if I do I am unsure in what or quite what I’d aim to do with it once I had it, but certainly for now I am enjoying learning for the sake of learning and flexing that particular muscle once again.
So far, a month in we’re enjoying it. We have found a rhythm to our studying and not only is it springboarding lots of discussions and further research and talking about ideas and experiences it is radiating out with all four of us getting involved in chatting about the new things we are learning. It’s great welcoming the Open University into our learning partnerships in our household, so far they are fitting in really well.