Braving Blackboard & the fear of silence 

At the weekend I bit the bullet and girded my loins, crossed my fingers and thus typed my first question into the discussion area of a course model. Sheesh I felt stupid; stupider still when no-one replied. Was everyone laughing at me thinking ‘silly old woman’ (although why I think anyone would ever waste time thinking about me is a whole new post – get over yourself old woman!!) or were they all being students and not logging on over a weekend or were they all frightened to look as daft as me.

The fear engendered by silence was almost overwhelming until the very gracious lecturer said the error was his.

PHEW! Relief! Although with hindsight I perhaps should have been braver and just tested the files. Fear is close to freeze in my list of the flight, fight or freeze scenario. I need to embrace more fight.

Still struggling with SD. I’ve disliked equations since chemistry O level; it’s a mindset. Who knew I’d learn so much about myself through enrolling on a masters course.

First back to reality

It’s Monday morning and my cross country train is chugging inexorably towards Birmingham New Street. The start of my first ‘proper’ week of student-dom. The foundation stones will be laid here. I need to do that well, by concentrating on each individual stone, by looking at what makes good cement; NOT BY wondering what the house will look like in the end. Can mindfulness and strategic thinking co-exist? Now there’s a question I’ve never thought to ask before.
An extremely interesting event this morning during which I had a lightbulb moment for my dissertation. It was one of those moments where your head is concentrating on something completely different and then you get that flashing light that screams “look at me, LOOK AT ME!” When you do look, you think why now; I don’t have time now.
Obviously I can’t tell you what it is yet; you might steal it!!  I did tell someone though. A new colleague who honoured me by choosing to tell me something of her own.

Forward to the reality of Saturday and a monster munch (pickled onion flavour sandwich of course) at the end of a week of realities.

And what a week! Highs and Lows; and Lows and Highs. Some nice inbetween bits would be less exhausting. This blog isn’t about work but the juggling required at least internally means it’s never far from the front/top of the picture/list. 
Thursday was fabulous. My first ‘proper’ day on campus with lectures in the two compulsory courses (Statistical Foundations (SF) & Intoduction to Statistical Modelling(ISM)) open to part-time students this semester. I confess to being shell shocked as the first one started – how could I keep up with the much younger, much more techhie students? SF was quite intense and dry with lots of talk about the assessment and where we will be and I wasn’t as focussed as I should be.

I was panicking about not having SPSS on my laptop and couldn’t get eduroam etc etc etc. It all has to be perfect!!! Of course it’s not. A break at lunch with the son gave me focus. This is going to be my biggest challenge; the voice in my head that says “only the best is good enough”.

You know the facilities on campus are great – there just aren’t enough books; mustn’t forget to take one of my library books next week as it’s been requested my a fellow student. Anyway the Learning Commons is a great place. I spent 80 minutes on a comfy sofa reading notes.

I got ISM; perhaps it was the tutor’s style or perhaps I was just calmer. I really should’ve written this on Thursday but I was so tired. Oh and the homework. The hours. I never really thought about the hours. So last night and today have been spent reading about descriptive and inferential statistics. I’m really hoping it’s going to stick. I think it’s starting to but it’s early days yet. The joys of the IT system kicked in; I guess this makes a change from the blue screen of death.

Sigma notation

Sigma what?

So that’s already got me confused and panicky,  although, to be fair, I’m sure I’ll get there when i know where ‘there’ is. I have a problem with right and left but generally I’ve got a good sense of direction.

Today I took the tram, ostensibly to test the time vs cycling; in reality it’s because I’m running tonight and my knees are knackered! It didn’t start well; the park N ride was full; my ticket fell into the dispenser as the tram pulled away – why do they do that! Do tram drivers have a special vindictive button? I’m not good on public transport, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with the public bit or even the transport bit, it’s the not ‘being in control’ bit that gets my heart beating faster. On my bike I am in charge, if I’m late; if I fall into the canal (yes I keep worrying about that) it’s mostly down to me. This tram lark it’s down to the driver- who we’ve already established has a vindictive button!!

It took 8 minutes longer on the tram.

Into class and a revisit of the yukky stuff from Monday. I remembered stuff – both that I could do and that I couldn’t – sigma notations anyone?

Today did have some surprises in that I found I knew how to calculate z scores (a small victory). Joyously I was reminded I am not alone in my ignorance of sigma notations – there’d be no point doing the course if I knew it all already now would there! 

Benefits of the tram:

  1. I got to type this
  2. I didn’t get wet in the rain
  3. My arse doesn’t get sorer! 

Sheesh this studying lark is hard work, I’m shattered but alive. Very much alive. 😊🐝😊

Old woman at School

Statistically speaking I am significant. Except I really don’t yet understand enough about statistics to claim that. Hence my journey back to school and a taught masters degree.

I graduated seven summers ago, having taken seven chronological years to achieve a first class honours in degree in Education Studies. I had an opportunity to carry on straight into a research masters but I wanted a break. A lot changed in those seven years.

Anyway this week finds me engaged in an induction course before beginning proper next week, part time of course, in Social Research Methods. First day yesterday was both the scariest and most joyous thing I’ve done in a very long time.

Not content with the challenge of level 7 study I got the bike out for the first time in over a year, did the full on student thing and cycled the almost 8 miles along the canal to uni. Of course I had to cycle back too. My bloody arse killed this morning.

I learned so much about what I don’t know and a little about what I do. The best moment: arriving back in class after lunch and a student commenting on how happy I looked. Today, perhaps to avoid thinking about the pain in my surprisingly bony arse, I thought about that as I cycled in. Although there are so many risks here, I am happy, very happy and very blessed to be doing it. If only it was full-time.

Recording the journey …

So here I am, aged almost 54,  embarking on a side-trip into the world of academia; not quite my dream of full-time student life (I’ve never managed that) but I am blessed to be able to do this much.

Having received a bursary from work which has been reduced after I received a scholarship, I already feel the pressure to ‘do well’. This side show will be my attempt to keep it light and, if necessary (who am I kidding – WHEN necessary, to vent the stresses, probably self induced.

Pop in from time to time if you want to join me.  Note that I will be skewing comments to the positive and deleting any haters.