Returning to study
When I came to Middlesex University I was returning to study after working,
but I had continued study with The Open University, which made me a little
less worried to work under my own steam. I did not have a clear idea of
what I should expect from study at University. I think I was open to any
kind of learning. I thought of myself as someone needing to further my
education and taking my last chance as circumstances may not allow me to do
it in the future.
My opinion of myself and my abilities has changed during my first year at
University. I used to give up whenever a challenge arose. Now I am able to
take a step back and carry on. I realised that I am probably more able than
I found it discouraging trying to get to know people and forcing myself to
do things myself rather than someone already doing it for me. But I think
this has had a positive effect. I now know I can do things on my own. In
addition to these new feelings of confidence, good points of my University
experience are that I have discovered different ways of thinking and that
it has opened up opportunities. Bad points are lack of sleep, trying to
organise study around a family, and finding time to myself.
I returned to study after five years. I knew I would not have problems with
study because I like to study. I was more worried about my academic
standard of writing. I was nervous about using the computers, but I soon
got over that. When I started university, I was very proud of myself for
coming back to education. I love a challenge and I always give something I
start my very best shot before I give up.
I never understood philosophy and I never thought I could cope with a
conversation in this topic, but now I have the confidence to join in on any
discussion. Overall, my first semester modules have given me
confidence in my abilities.
I was apprehensive about coming back into education after a long period. I
was unprepared for the way the University leaves students to accumulate the
required knowledge on their own. The amount of information thrown at me in
the first semester was too much, and I was definitely not prepared for the
amount of Information Technology which was (somewhat) dumped on me.
Although I do not feel I have yet had enough time to evaluate myself, I
feel I have the ability to do well here. I hope that the University can
encourage me to develop and learn to the required level.
Good points include meeting people who are interested in pursuing a
similar career to myself. Bad points include not having enough support
which I feel is important when entering University. My experience has shown
me that I have patience, and I have developed the ability to communicate
using a computer. One course introduced me to the way history plays a very
important part in the how we live today. I have the ability to work on my
own, although I can work with others when required.
A mature student in my mid twenties, I was married with a two year old
child when I came to University. The previous year I spent juggling A level
courses with full time care for my daughter. I felt very able to cope with
managing my own studies after that intense training course. I was extremely
enthusiastic about combining computer skills with my studies. It has made
me feel less out of touch with the way technology has progressed since I
During my first semester I gained confidence in my own skills. My essay
writing skills improved and (at last) I feel I understand what is being
asked of me. I think this is largely due to a sense of belonging within the
university. Studying A Levels felt very isolated, as I did not
belong to a class and had no peers to talk to. In the university I have met
many like minded people who are supportive and understanding.
At the beginning of semester one I could have listed numerous bad points
regarding administration, financial services and timetable queries.
However, as the weeks went on and I became familiar with the "system",
problems were solved. It just takes a while gaining confidence with the
surroundings before you can relax and concentrate on the important matter
Returning to study via an Access course
Before I started University I embarked on an access course to refamiliarise
myself with formal learning. Prior to this I had not been in full time
education for nine years. As a result of the Access course I was prepared
for University study. My understanding of university was that a lot of the
work I would have to do myself and within groups. I was very enthusiastic
for new technologies, as I felt I did not want to go into the year 2000
computer illiterate. I was confident and prepared for a challenge.
I must admit my ideas about myself and abilities have changed and I am
becoming very aware that my abilities depend on how hard I work and how far
I want to push myself. I think my ideas have changed, largely, because with
interacting with others I realise how little I know. One of the good points
about my experience is that I have learnt how to share with others through
discussion and group work. Working to strict deadlines is beginning to
discipline my time management. A bad point is having less tutor contact
than I got accustomed to in college.
I left school 14 years ago. I completed an access course but it did not
properly prepare me for University. I felt completely lost initially.
However, I had the support of good friends. I was apprehensive of
computers. I did not think I could possibly write an essay on the subjects
I was given in my first semester. One module required me to send the essay
by email. I had only heard of email on the telly. Yet I feel I have learnt
a lot, academically and technologically, in the past 12 weeks. I was
worried that my younger counterparts would leave me feeling thick and old,
but that has not been the case. I am more confident and amazed at passing
my first module. I now know that if I put my brain into gear, I will be
able to achieve anything.
The good impact the university had on me is that I now see myself as an
autonomous person. It is a big change in myself. Something that
helped the development of my independent thinking was mixing with different
people and being aware of different cultures and backgrounds. I have learnt
to respect diversity in people and work together in one environment. The
bad side of this is stress as I struggle to combine my studies and my
family life, with no time for a separate social life. A student centred
university is good in that it develops autonomous learning and changes the
student life style for the better. Encouraging self reliance and initiative
means students tend to reach their potential. But it is hard work and
Many times I had the opportunity to improve my autonomous learning
skills by asking other students or friends about issues related to
my studies. For example, I took advise about my draft essay and this way I
learnt what I had to do in to write a good essay.