Category Archives: Universities

Long Time, No Write.

Gosh, September 8th was when I last wrote here. Since, then I have finished my EMA, collated it and sent all three copies off to Milton Keynes.

I was confident with it at the time, but with hindsight my confidence has dwindled. Last year I thought I did really well in my exam but I only got a Grade 3 Pass (a 2:2. I have been told this is the degree classification of the partier, which would be rather accurate. I do like a good night out). I did do better on my TMAs this year compared to last year though so who knows? I do have to admit, I found it much easier to secure 2:1s when I was at actual university than I do with the OU. Lord knows why, because I never used to pay attention in lectures. My friend and I used to pass notes to a guy who sat in front of us. About dolphins. It was very bizarre! (But we were drama students, so I think we can be forgiven.)

Anyway, AA318 has finished and I have embarked upon AA315; Renaissance Art Reconsidered. I am actually finding this course more enjoyable, I think because there were set rules artists had to follow and these are easier to digest than a 20th century artist putting forward odd notions about what exactly made him enlarge Brillo boxes.

The only part of this course I don’t like is architecture. I think it is half down to the way the author wrote the chapter, half because I find it very difficult to visualise in my head, even after watching the DVD. I have never been interested in architecture, I find it too technical. However, I found learning about how frescoes and altarpieces were created very interesting indeed. The jury is still out on sculpture because again, I find it hard to visualise. But it’s easier to get my head round than architecture!

This is (hopefully) my last course with the OU; in June I should have finished! However, because this is my last year, for some reason I seem to have lost an awful lot of motivation. From what I can gather, this is pretty common. I have been studying at degree level since 2006, with a large break in 2008. That’s four and a half years. It’s tiring! I never thought I’d say this, but I’m getting fed up of education!

That said, I have started my proper Swedish classes which result in an OCR qualification. I can’t help myself! My CV is getting to the point where I have to have a few different ones depending on the kind of jobs I want to go for, because I have a lot of superfluous crap on there. (eg I have Childcare and First Aid qualifications. I got out of doing the Food Hygiene one!)

Anyway, I think I will upload a video soon of everything that came with this course. It’s all become a lot more internet based since last year which is to be welcomed, although I DO wish we could submit our EMAs online. Recorded delivery is bloody pricey!

Hope you’re all well, and sorry for not writing for two months!

Nikki x

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Posted by on November 14, 2011 in Art, OU, Universities


Jag lämnade mitt hjärta i Sverige.

Hej alla! I have just returned from my second trip to Stockholm, and it was AWESOME. I love that place so much. But you might be wondering; why the obsession with Sverige? Well, I am hoping to apply to study this course at Stockholms Universitet next year. Why? Well the two main reasons are the cost (free!) and the fact that I feel so at home in Stockholm, more so than even in England. I am sure we have all had holidays where we could see ourselves living in that country. Everything clicks; you love the people (and the men!), the weather (hot in the summer, freezing in the winter? Ja snälla!), the culture… it’s just bloody amazing.

I am also going to apply for similar courses in Gothenburg and Helsinki, but I want the Stockholm one the most. If I don’t get in, there is a good chance I will cry. But then I will work for a year and apply again the following year; post grads in Scandinavia are quite often 25 and over.

So to help me prepare, I am starting Swedish classes on September 14th. I am very excited! I am not starting in the entry level class, but the one up, since I already know some Swedish through Rosetta Stone. I actually tried speaking some Swedish this trip and I was pleasantly surprised; I had been told that once a Swede hears your terrible accent they switch instantly to English, and that totally didn’t happen with me! I’d say, ‘Jag talar inte Svenska’ (I don’t speak Swedish) and they would ask ‘Engelska?’ No presumptions or anything 🙂 I did meet two Swedes who said I had the perfect accent so here is hoping I will be top of the class haha!!

In AA318 news, I am waiting for my last TMA result. I can’t even begin to focus on the EMA until I have that result back and I have spoken to my tutor – we have a tutorial on Saturday which I need desperately because I don’t really understand the EMA at all.

Also, my last course books have come! I start AA315 (Renaissance art reconsidered) in October. I quite like the look of the books; unlike AA318, the text in these books is split into two columns. And strangely, it looks like I will be able to focus on that easier. It’s really bizarre, but I remember in college being given a right or left brained test and because I scored right brained, my law teachers gave me textbooks with pictures. And strangely, it worked! I got an A, and then when I tried a Law course with the OU I pretty much failed because their textbooks had no pictures. Strange, I know.

Anyhoo, I hope you are all good, och tack för läser!

Nikki x

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Posted by on September 1, 2011 in Sverige, The author, TMAs, Universities



When I tell people I study at home with the OU, I often get the response, ‘Wow, you must be really motivated.’

Well, yes and no.

For example, I no longer have to get up at 7.30 am, get showered, dressed and walk twenty minutes up the steepest hill you could ever imagine in time for a 9 am lecture. If I want to read my course books (our version of lectures, I guess!) in my PJs, or in the garden, or in bed, I can.

When I was at Kent, I would rarely get any work done, because I was living with friends. Especially in first year. There is so much to do, so many people to meet. You are on your own for the first time and you want to push the boundaries as much as possible. If that means getting slaughtered the night before your dance lesson, so be it! If that means feigning an injury (I ‘slipped on ice’) to avoid going to a really dull lecture, so be it!

At home there is less temptation, and I feel more guilty when I don’t study with the OU than I ever did with Kent. Why? At uni, as long as I went to my lectures/seminars/tutorials/rehearsals, I did no other work that week (unless I had to read a play or something). They say students ought to be doing 40 hours of personal study a week. LOL. That never happened, ever. Maybe like 4.

But now, I have to get my books out in order to learn anything. So as long as they are out, I might as well read around the subject a little as well!

And the final reason: I find it easier to let other people down than myself. A lecturer with a class of 60 isn’t going to notice you missing their lectures (although some evil ones took registration!) and you have loads of people who you can ask for notes. Not so with the OU, so you have to study, unless you want to learn nothing!

Nikki x

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Posted by on May 10, 2011 in OU, Universities


Mickey Mouse Degrees.

I read The Guardian like a woman possessed. After I check BBC News of a morning, I always head to to get my fix of Tory and Lib Dems arguing. It really never gets old.

Anyhoo, I have just been reading a piece about how the government are shocked (shocked, I tell you!) that most universities are charging the top fees of £9k a year. Never mind that anyone with half a brain could see that was going to happen…

And then I went to read the comments, and there are the usual posts of how A Levels have gotten easier and how everyone takes a ‘Mickey mouse degree’ and that the only real subjects are SCIENCE god dammit! And this always makes me angry so I thought I’d write a post on it.

I have no idea if A Levels are easier than in the past. My parents didn’t take them so I have no point of reference. The thing with A Levels are that you are taught to pass the exam. I don’t think the exams have gotten easier, it’s just that teaching methods have changed to help people pass them. I don’t really see what is wrong with this, but of course with this system it does sort of become a competition on who can retain the most information in their head.

This all stops once you get to university, so I don’t think A Levels are ideal preparation. I never did very well in coursework in A Levels but I rocked at exams. Law A Level was 100% exam based and I got an A (there was no silly A* back in 2006!) But I never did well in coursework because it was very much – mention this and you get a mark – based. University work is the opposite; you are graded on putting forth an argument and backing it up with appropriate evidence. I think Law A Level requires you to do this to a certain extent, but I think more A Levels should be like this, if only to stop the grumpy lot on The Guardian!

Then we get to the ‘Mickey Mouse degree’ bit. What older generations forget is that my generation were sold a lie that if we did well in education, the world was our oyster. To an extent this is still true (though most jobs now ask for degrees and experience because apparently they are too lazy to train staff themselves); and most jobs who want a graduate want just that; a graduate. They don’t care if your degree is in Drama or IT; they just want somebody who is intelligent and self motivated enough to get a degree.

There is also the argument that too many people are going to university – but you told us to! When I was doing my A Levels there was absolutely no question of doing anything else. I ummed and ahhed over studying Anthropology, Psychology or Drama, and of course I picked Drama. I WISH I had done Anthro, but there you go! The fact of the matter being that it was unlikely I was going to get a job in any of those areas so I might as well just get a degree in anything.
The stupid thing is that the kids who left school after their GCSEs are now retail managers, and the ones who have degrees are working at the bottom. In the end, a degree never did get them anywhere.

This is why my plan is to get my degree, and then hopefully study a Masters in Sweden. The Masters I have my eye on includes a ten week internship and I am hoping all together it will be enough to get me started on a career over there. It makes me sad to think that I can have it all sorted so easily when I think of moving to Sweden, but when I think of staying here I am at a loss of what to do because everybody keeps moving the goalposts – yes you do need a degree, oh but now we also want experience, and damn why don’t universities train you to be a better employee? (That was never a university’s job and I hate that argument.)

Education needs to be a higher priority in this country, but judging by the fact that comments like the ones above litter the internet, it is clear to see that we don’t hold education in the esteem that it deserves. I believe that if someone is willing and intelligent enough, a university degree should never be denied to them. And yes, £9k a year is denying it to some. I think I would have gone straight to the OU if I had been faced with fees of that much. Or gone abroad!

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Posted by on April 3, 2011 in Politics, Universities

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