I Think I Can….

I am a university student.  Again.

The last time I was a university student was in what my children call “the olden days”.  When jeans were high-waisted, socks were slouchy, hair was big, Doc Martens were the thing and car phones were the latest techno feat.

To take lecture notes you’d use a pen and paper. This also came in handy when passing notes to your friends.  Notes that usually said “Do you want to skip Pedagogy and head to Sizzler?”  Assignments were hand written or if you were well off you might have bashed it on an electric typewriter.  Both had their drawbacks.  Hand writing gave you hand cramp but that was nothing compared to the frustration of getting to the very bottom of a type written page and realising there was a typo in line three.

When I’d finished writing an essay (which usually involved at least 3 hand written drafts) I’d pop it in a presentation folder and put it in the wooden box outside the correct faculties’ office.

Researching involved hours spent in the university library, using the recently installed computerised catalogue (although the card catalogues were still there) to locate the call numbers of books. Then traipsing up and down the aisles to locate the right book, which could often be like a wild goose chase as other students would have either already borrowed the book you wanted, or if it was a periodical hidden it so that they had the advantage.

An alarming proportion of my Austudy allowance was spent photocopying resources or lecture notes.

This time around, things are very different.

My study is completely online.  There are no prescribed text books, no lectures to attend, no tutorials.  It’s just me and the internet.

The course co-ordinator uploads lecture notes and learning activities, as well as an MP3 recording of her ‘real’ lecture.  I write my assignments in Microsoft Word, where I can cut and paste, spell check, grammar check, and insert footnotes/end notes with just the click of a mouse.  To submit I upload them to the university’s website and they are graded and returned to me in the same manner, complete with comments.

Despite all the technological changes the biggest change between 1991 and 2012 is me.  I am now a mature age student.  I am returning to study because I want to, not because I want to delay making decisions about my life.  But I have more self-doubt in my ability to meet the course requirements than I ever did back in the olden days.

Can I do this?

I think I can. I think I can.

Just keep swimming.



8 thoughts on “I Think I Can….

  1. YES
    and in the end it will be something you LOVE..and you will do more…
    signing off as
    Bach Ed (5 yrs part time before word processing using electric typewriter)
    Masters Ed (2 years part time with computer)
    Grad Cert TESOL ( all on-line, including group condos & emails)
    And, all done whilst still working.. now I am NOT saying that to show off….but am saying that in my late 30s – late 50s I did this.
    And I am here any old time to help…but you will be FINE

    • Thanks, Laurel. I’d like to think of something witty to reply to you but I’m shattered after lsitening to a podcast lecture today and taking THREE PAGES of HANDWRITTEN notes! The las ttime I did that Madonna’s forehead could move. 😉

  2. Congratulations on returning to study – how exciting! I always quite enjoyed studying and used the opportunity of being in Hong Kong without a job as the perfect time to go back and finish my Masters degree. Was fabulous that I could do the whole thing as a distance student AND online – brilliant!

  3. Of course you can! Don’t you remember all the mature age students from the first time around? They were the ones that sat near the front of the lecture, took notes and completed all their assignments early – as well as got the best marks! You are so going to nail it. I enjoyed studying as a mature age student because I knew what I stuffed up the first time. I was very surprised with what I could do with that knowledge.

    Thanks too for the memory lane moment – the wooden boxes to drop your assignments in. Hilarious – I remember chasing one or two lecturers down a hallway after they had emptied the box at 5pm.

    • Oh, yes, I certainly remember the mature-age students. I spent many hours rolling my eyes at their in-depth question just as a tute was about to end, preventing me from leaving on time and possibly missing out on happy hour at the Union bar. 😉

      What I also remember was how interested and engaged they were, and now that I am ‘mature-aged’ I understand where that comes from. If you’re going to make the time to study you’re going to do the best job you can, and that’s true of me this time.

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