I’m a little bit chuffed of myself today.
About this time last year I committed myself to doing a module of study with the Open University that may or may not be bolted together with my already-passed modules to take me a step closer to my degree. I had given it quite some thought, and buoyed by recent success with my ALM course and a growing sense of confidence in myself, I signed up to study a history course. The course title was “Medicine and Society 1500-1930”, which grabbed me from the outset. I’m quite a history buff on the quiet, and I’m also a bit of a gory fiend too so to have the chance to study the history of medicine seemed right up my street.
When I committed myself to it, I was of the mind that if I managed to complete the course and sit the exam then fantastic, that would be the end of it. I would prove to myself that I could get my brain working again after all this time, and it would give me a bit of a boost in the self-confidence department after being out of work and ill for so long. I felt I was getting very stale and rutted in a narrow routine and if it hadn’t been for my church life I would have been a dessicated old hag sat at home on my own.
So it was with a small amount of trepidation I set out on this course, and I have to be honest and tell you that there was more than a few times when I felt I’d bitten off more than I could chew and ranted and wailed at myself about taking on such a challenge.
But I overcame those moments, and today was the culmination of the last nine months of study and I sat my exam. I’m celebrating the fact that I got this far, and tonight I am celebrating the fact that I managed to sit through a 3-hour written exam AND FINISH IT! My first goal of finishing the course was really satisfying, and my second goal of sitting and completing the exam was also a great feeling.
I managed to write 21 sides of A4 on the three required questions in the three hour exam this morning (I’m sure someone boffy will be able to tell me how many words that was) and I wrote essays on a) how and why Vesalius’ work broke away from traditional Galenic medicine, b) who, if anyone, benefitted from the rise of the asylum system in the 19th century, and c) how the design and function of hospitals changed over the years from treating the sick poor in the 16th century to the all singing all dancing treatment centres of the 20th century.
I’m not sure about the quality of my work, and to be honest I’ll be happy with a pass (which is 40%). I know there are lots of people on my course who are looking to whatever quality of degree they will achieve and it matters to them what mark they will get for this module, but to be honest, I’m not that bothered. Obviously I would like a good pass mark, but with the amount of illness, bereavement and numerous other stumbling blocks I’ve contended with this year I am just happy to have crossed the finishing line.
A few things I’ve noticed along the way though: tramadol and codeine really do mess with your head. When I started revising, there were pages and pages of notes that I could have sworn was new bits of study for me. I didn’t remember reading that stuff before, but I must have done because the notes were in my own handwriting. Just goes to show that if you aren’t present when you study then it aint really going in. Thank the Lord for revision!
Something else I’ve noticed is the way that despite my best efforts these past few weeks to really cut down on my painkillers and even stop them altogether (to the cost of a raised level of pain and a return of yellow eyes, but that’s another story), I found it really difficult to get into my “groove” both in revising and in writing my essays today in the exam.
The other thing I have noticed is that I have now caught the studying bug and I have signed up for two modules starting in October which, if I pass this one and those two, means I will have my Bachelor of Arts degree this time next year. I might even do a level 3 course the year after to convert that to an honours degree… watch this space!
Anyway, I am satisfied that I gave the best of myself today (however good that “best” might be is now in the hands of the exam marker) and I can say that I have really enjoyed getting through the material on the course, and barring the odd wobble in confidence, I am happy that things have gone so well and yes, I am a little bit chuffed.