Having been an Open University student for 10 years I’m no stranger to the many and varied ways that procrastination of coursework can manifest. Especially when it’s TMA (tutor marked assignment) time. “Oh that deadline is only three days away now? Perfect opportunity to catch up on housework / TV / re-organising wardrobe / being hungover.” Ahem.
Writing this while taking a break from the more painfully sllooowwwww than usual progress through the last TMA for my current module (E233). Something about the avoidance of this assignment is different. I have already missed the deadline, and agreed an extension which is slowing ticking away, but I’m not feeling the familiar sense of worry, pressure or uncertainty about whether or not I’ll be able to get it finished. I know that if I sat down and powered through that it would get done fairly quickly leaving me free to enjoy other things… guilt free. Once this is finished there is an exam next month to revise for. And maybe that’s the worry this time. After which I will have a full SIX months with no OU work before starting the final module for my degree in October. Final Module. This (hopefully) means graduation next autumn, oh emm, gee! [dramatic pause]. The end of E233 is the beginning of the end of being an OU student.
I first signed up to the degree programme in the summer of 2011 and since then have completed seven modules back to back, comprising 32 assignments, three exams and one residential week. And now it’s nearly over. Finished. Coursework has been a big part of my life for so long, at times challenging and rewarding, frequently frustrating (hang on, fitting it all in means I have to choose between coursework and running!?! Argh!) and is about to go and leave me with hours of time that I’m not used to having spare. Of course, I already have lots of ideas about how I’ll be able to enjoy my non-study time such as home-made bagels and marathon training [and another big adventure]. The process of the degree itself has felt very long and involved and, over the past twelve months, seems to have come untangled from what I want to do with my life afterwards that so there is a huge sense of relief there. But it’s a strange realisation that the procrastination this time may be about being quite ready yet to say goodbye to something I’m so used to living with. Perhaps also savouring the anticipation* of what is to come before the reality of living and breathing it.
– Okay, feeling better now that I’ve offloaded but still have 1000+ words to write for that TMA so better get cracking… ummmm, cup of tea, anyone?
*insanely about the new stuff btw, more on that to follow