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Graduating in front of my favourite bar: apt!

So that’s it. I’ve done it. All done and dusted. The end of an era!

Despite finishing my degree last year, I only graduated this past Saturday (November 23rd) because of when the graduation ceremonies were. I wasn’t that bothered about going but boy, am I glad I did!

It was held at Symphony Hall in Birmingham at 3. We got there at around 1 and registered, and then went to get robed. It all went very smoothly and everyone working there had an air of excitement around them. We were given programmes that detailed the top dogs at the OU and also had the degrees and classifications printed of everyone who was graduating, which has made a lovely keepsake.


My parents didn’t pay for photos as they knew I wouldn’t like them so I got my dad to take a few of me. I’m not a huge fan of most of them but then again I wouldn’t be a girl if I weren’t happy with 95% of photos taken of me!


The ceremony itself was pretty emotional! There were two people there who were picking degrees up on behalf of people who had died which was very moving. There were also a lot of disabled people graduating which really demonstrates how invaluable the OU is to people with a disability.

When I walked across that stage I was so worried I would trip over and make a fool of myself! My dad filmed it and I walked across the stage much faster than I thought I did. When I got to the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Professor Musa Mihsein), he shook my hand, said, “Well done Nicola, congratulations” and handed me an envelope. The envelope held a little card with a message on that basically says well done for graduating.


When the ceremony was over I took a few more photos with my parents (and my mom will kill me if she knew I’d put one of her on here, so shhh!) and then I went for a much needed drink at the bar you can see above.



It’s weird to think it’s all over now. Even though my degree was done and dusted over 12 months ago, I’ve been waiting for this day. And now it’s over! I studied with the OU for four years (after I transferred my first year credits over from the University of Kent) so it’s a longer relationship than most people have with their alma maters.

And it was bloody hard work. I’m smart and I got a 2:2, which I have to say I wasn’t expecting! The OU is not an easy ride, by any means. The grade boundaries are higher and the motivation you need to work at home, by yourself, with no lectures, is a feat that I never thought I would accomplish.

I don’t finish things very often. I’m renowned for getting bored with things halfway through, so for me to finish a degree and actually graduate means more than many will ever know. I’m proud of myself, I’m proud of my parents for putting up with the moaning and for supporting me (both emotionally and financially!), and I’m proud of this country for having such an institution: one where the only barriers to learning are your own mind.

And with that, dear readers, I bid you adieu. This signals the end of this blog and the end of my (very long, meandering) journey.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions on the OU or studying in general; either leave me a comment on here or over at my other blog which I still write in.

Nikki x


Posted by on November 25, 2013 in Uncategorized



I always meant to write in here when I got my final degree results, but for some reason I never did!

As you can see from my title, I got a 2:2 in the end. I was on track for a 2:1 but it all depended on my final essay, which didn’t exactly go to plan. I didn’t enjoy it and even though my tutor gave me as much help as possible, the topic still seemed as clear as mud to me! If I ever see a renaissance altarpiece again it will be TOO soon!

Never mind though. I still have a degree, and one I earnt off my own back as well. The OU is MUCH harder than a traditional university and no matter what grade you get, you did bloody well finishing it! That in itself was a great accomplishment for me; when I was younger, I would often fail to see things through to their conclusion so actually sticking with something and not giving up halfway is a great achievement.

Having said all this, I have yet to graduate! The next graduation date in Birmingham isn’t until NOVEMBER 23RD. Yes, it is bloody ridiculous. I was not very impressed! I finished my degree at 24 and will graduate at 26. What a strange state of affairs! I will try to remember to post here when I am an actual graduate instead of an inferior graduand 😉

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Posted by on April 30, 2013 in Uncategorized


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On tutors.

I have adored my two most recent tutors. They have been a delight to work with. Interesting, engaging, and ready to help you at a moment’s notice. My current tutor is always emailing us out stuff to help us along with the next TMA, and if you email her with a problem, she will always reply within 24 hours. And her guidance is of actual use, instead of just writing some vague sentences about the question (as some tutors have been known to do!)

Contrast this to Kent. Whilst I had a lot of good (and not so good) tutors, they were a lot hader to get hold of. Many only accepted emails as a way of informing them if you were going to miss a lecture/seminar; very few used them for questions. Nooo, questions were for office hours. Office hours would normally be some obscure time where you would have to trek your way onto campus, and then stand in a queue and hope the queue moved fast enough before office hours ended.

There was a similar problem with submitting essays. I  understand that more and more universities are moving towards electronic submissions, but a lot are still too slow to catch on. It’s great being able to email your essay right up until midnight (the OU has a 12 hour grace period, the usual cut off point is midday) instead of again, trekking into campus ten minutes before the essay deadline, and then waiting in another queue to get a receipt.
Although, my final project for this course has to be posted. THREE copies of it. I don’t understand why that can’t be emailed either :s

With the unfortunate news of tuition fees, I feel a lot more people around my age will be considering the OU over campus universities, and I think my experience of both puts me in a unique position. Therefore, if there is any aspet of university you want me to comment on, ask away 😉

Also, thanks for the great comments on my last entry. All of you share similar feelings about the OU’s increase in tuition fees. It’s a damn shame that life-long learners are being penalised in this country. My only solace is that the Tories probably won’t be re-elected!

Nikki x

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Posted by on August 12, 2011 in Uncategorized


Keeping Ahead.

Something I love about studying with the OU is that aside from TMA deadlines, you can study pretty much at your own pace. My course materials were sent out to me Christmas Eve, yet my course didn’t start until the beginning of February. This allowed me to start studying pretty early; in fact, for a while I was three weeks ahead of the timetable. I do this because sometimes life gets in the way, and sometimes you plain old just don’t feel like studying.

Currently I am a week ahead but haven’t done any studying this week due to being in Oliver! It only cuts out five hours of my day, but the adrenaline I get from performing is difficult to get rid of; I am certainly not in the mood to study when I come home! But after this week I will try and catch up to being a week ahead again. I am lucky to have the freedom to do this: I am currently unemployed which isn’t a large problem as I live with my parents (and I’m a spoilt only child!) But I do have a job interview tomorrow – argh! It’s only for a Saturday job so if I get it I will still be able to have this freedom.

Oliver! is going very well by the way! Each night it sold out and last night the Mayor turned out demanding a seat! Of course they accommodated him – the man filming the performance moved up.

Since I haven’t studied in a week, I don’t have any new and insightful musings about art to share. Though I did get my first TMA back and I did very well for my first level 3 course, so that relaxed me. You never know how your first TMA is going to fare!

Anyway, I am going to go back to enjoying the sun and I will leave you with the note that soon there will be video blogs on here…! I am going to the Tate Modern on a tutorial in April so I will definitely try and make a video blog of that day, so stay tuned!

Nikki x

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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

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