Study Update is a new series to help hold me accountable for my studies while also sharing how University is going. I debated a little about posting a series that’s so ‘me, me, me’, but I do get asked about my studies, especially as I have health issues and study online. So maybe my study updates could actually be useful for anyone else who is in a similar situation to me. Especially because I’m not the perfect student – I fall behind and get overwhelmed and everything else – and I think a lot of people need to be reminded that it’s okay not to be. Regardless of how I handle my studies, I’ve fallen completely in love with my education and feel extremely grateful that I’m able to access University despite my circumstances. Some days it amazes me how I went from University drop out who dramatically declared studying THE WORST!! and that I would NEVER go back!! Things have changed and I’m really, really happy they have. So, on with the show!
What I’m Studying
I study Politics and History at undergraduate level at Macquarie University through Open Universities Australia. I have a big post coming up about my experiences studying online with Open Universities so far, so keep an eye out for that if you’re interested! (And let me know if you have any questions about it too, I know I had loads when I considered studying through OUA but couldn’t find a lot of information.)
It is currently Week 5 of Study Period 2 (out of 4). This study period (SP) I’m taking the classes ‘Introduction to Global Politics’ and ‘Critical Thinking’. It’s my first SP not taking any history units, and it feels like I’m on holiday! I love history so much, but there’s so many readings that I always find it hard to keep up (and often don’t manage to). Politics and philosophy are far more easy-going in that regard, though they are still challenging in their own ways! Since this is my first post I’ll go over my classes first and what I think of them so far, and then go into how my studies are going.
Critical Thinking is my absolute favourite class, perhaps the favourite out of all I’ve ever taken (sorry Worlds of Early Modern Europe!). I’m naturally a critical thinker and jump into debate and in-depth discussion at the drop of a hat, and this class focuses 100% on constructing and deconstructing arguments (in every area: debate, marketing, politics, etc.) to strengthen our critical thinking capabilities. It’s amazing. I’m so in love with this class! I like to think I’m already pretty skilled at constructing arguments, but everything is explicitly laid out and analysed. After every lecture I feel so excited because I feel like I’ve levelled up. As dorky as that sounds. I even said to my mother, ‘this class is going to turn me into a monster!‘ Honestly I can barely even think about the end of term and everything I will have learned in this class by then, it makes me so excited – I’m like a child anticipating Christmas! The lecturer is also fantastic, he’s really good at explaining everything and has a great sense of humour that definitely contributes to the ease of grasping the analytical concepts.
Global Politics is also very interesting and I value everything I’ve learned so far. International Relations is such an important part of politics today, and it’s something I really need to get a better grip on. In particular, I’m really hoping by the end of the semester I’ll have a clearer opinion on globalisation. I can see the good and bad of a world that is less and less defined by state border lines, and this seems to be something a lot of people are advocating for, but at the same time our entire system (including individual & cultural identity) is built on the notion of territorial states. There’s a lot to consider! I also tend to pick and choose what political areas I am knowledgeable about, so I hope to gain a broader scope of knowledge in general. My wild, passionate love for Critical Thinking does sometimes overshadow Global Politics, but I still really adore this class.
How I’m Going
As mentioned above, it’s Week 5 and a (minor) piece of assessment for each class has already been submitted. For Critical Thinking it was a quiz, which I received an 8/10 for. I’m kind of annoyed at myself because I got a 9.25 on the practice quiz! But I genuinely thought the answers I gave were correct, so I tried my best – and that’s meant to count for something, right? Results aren’t back yet for Global Politics because of an error in the assessment system, but the bright side is that this resulted in a week’s extension on the next piece of assessment! Maybe the system should mess up more often…
I’m especially happy about the extension because I fell behind a bit in the last week or so. I had a sudden bout of tiredness and struggled to concentrate on my work. My participation marks will have taken a hit (usually accounts for 10-15% of the final grade) because of it. However I’m slowly feeling better and have been catching up on last week’s work. My coffee intake has increased because my tiredness usually hits really hard in the afternoon (tfw you run out of spoons, am I right?!), which helps get a little bit of extra work done. I have a bit under three weeks to get my next pieces of assessment done which I hope will be ample time, even if my fatigue drifts in and out (as it probably will).
I do miss history a bit, despite the massive workload that comes with it. Learning about the past is so important to me, and every week I’d feel so much more connected to the world and the people in it. I think it’s that feeling I miss the most! I’m planning on taking a history unit next term though, so I’m trying not to dwell on it too much. I’ve also noticed my history studies have helped my politics studies so much. There’s a lot of historical concepts that politics lecturers only briefly touch on, but I knew about it all in-depth thanks to my history classes; I think these disciplines compliment one another perfectly. I would have a far less confident grip on what I learn in my politics classes if I didn’t also have such a solid understanding of how society functioned in the past and how/why it changed.
So overall I’m loving it and I feel my studies are going well, even if I do fall behind every now and again! I’m especially pleased with how my two chosen disciplines compliment one another, and how much better I understand everything with greater clarity because of it. By my next study update I hope to be on track with my assessment and up-to-date with all my lectures and class participation. Let’s see how it goes!