The Open Diaries | Episode 6 – Opening Doors

October 7, 2019

I found myself through studying with The Open University and now I really do know what I’m passionate about. I don’t think I could have done what I have done with my career without The Open University on the
other side. Every year thousands of students from all walks of life enrol at The Open University, each one deciding to write their own story. Welcome to the Open Diaries. When I first started I was quite nervous, it was like a huge decision because not many people around me had heard about the university in itself and just being so young it was just a norm just to go to like a red brick university. My mum was quite nervous, she just didn’t know what to expect. I proved her wrong. Once she knows Halima was getting the grades that she needs to get to where she wants me to be, she has nothing to complain about now. At that time where you’re studying, you’re
working and you’re in the process of getting married, I’m able to keep on top of just my mental health, you know just go to the gym and being able to just do things for me. I’m studying the computing and IT with a software development pathway. I always put like on my CV or whatever, you know studying at Open University, that’s definitely helped me to get my
foot in the door and actually get a job. I know it was such a talking point
in the interview and really after I sort of didn’t do very well at college, I think I’ve proven to myself that I can attain this level of education. Kate my fiancee, she’s been like the main person who has been supporting me through my studies. It was quite fun at the time because we were both sort of at university in different ways so she was at a regular bricks-and-mortar university
and I was obviously with the OU. There’s a different style of working. Where I did my studying at home and at work but you know, you can do it literally anywhere. Currently I’m actually living with my husband and his family, I tend to focus my studying around like family time, it helped a lot knowing that my tutors
were always there. With The Open University you have like a dedicated tutor for that module that you’re studying. I could email them, I could phone them and just knowing I will get a response was just really comforting. I study part-time because I have a full-time job and I actually have changed the pace of which I’ve been studying, so when I first
started I was doing half speed and that was fine actually for the first modules, but then I got into the level 2 modules I sort of realised actually it was too much at once, so I dropped it back down to just to one. The flexibility is really important actually, the tutorials, a lot of them like I replayed, which actually works really well because you know, you might not be able to attend the one on Wednesday at 7 o’clock so you can do the one on like Saturday 9:00. My first tutorial was so overwhelming. All these people at different stages, different ages, you know, they will have different careers or they didn’t have careers, just taking it in it’s a huge thing, but I loved it. Meeting like people and like taking their contact numbers, their social media details and then just keeping in contact with them, it’s just lovely. So there’s a number of different types of learning materials at the the OU, they’ll have like videos and like animations and all kinds of stuff. I’m certainly someone who could do with like the video of someone else explaining it to me. You could just post online any concerns that you have, through social media and there’s always
somebody, either going through the same situation or somebody that’s gone through the situation that you’re in at the moment. It’s like a little family environment. As part of taking part of The Open
University degree, we pick up soft skills around how to sort of like organise
yourself because you’ve got social life and you’ve got the course as well. So you have to be reasonably diligent with your time. Sometimes I should study more than I and I actually do and I think like as any honest person should really say is you know, obviously you have peaks and
troughs, so sometimes I get a little bit lazy and sometimes I’m like really
intense and all over it. The way the course is structured you could give yourself a little bit of slack, as long as the makeup that time, it’s totally fine, totally manageable. If it wasn’t I think you’re really difficult to not let real life get in the way. Having something that can go onto a Kindle, or onto a laptop or a phone or whatever it is, it’s inherently more accessible. It’s comforting knowing that I can fit my daily routine and my daily life and like mix them in with my studying, it comes so natural now. I’m like a mid-weight senior consultant, being able to work whilst I’m doing my degree has meant I have put my career on hold and
in that time I’ve had three different jobs, all software engineering jobs but
from three different companies. I’ve also managed to buy my first place and I’ve also got engaged as well. I feel really confident and I know that I’ve gained so many skills, I’ve gained so much more knowledge than what I once had. I feel like there’s all these doors open and I just need to choose one to walk through. Yeah I think without a shadow of a doubt The Open University has definitely being the right choice of me.

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