By Clair Chaytors

Having been a student of the Open University for over eight years now on various courses you could say I have caught the OU bug. In 2011 though after having had four children I decided to focus on an English Literature degree, my ultimate dream. My first two years were great as well as being manic, with all the problems every other mature student no doubt faces, but I was cruising along quite nicely. So when I began this year’s current study I could almost touch the finish line and I was consumed with reaching this end goal. What I had not banked on though was how life sometimes has other plans for us and just a few weeks into the academic year I had to make a decision which I had never foreseen regarding my dreams; in short I had to defer.

The Open University will work with you

Having been in the best of health all my life no-one was more shocked than myself when in October I was struck down by a mystery illness which I am only just beginning to recover from. At first I tried to ignore it fighting through almost torturous late nights to get my TMA’s in on time. First came the late submissions and extended requests but then followed the atrocious and pride crushing awful marks, barely scrapping at a pass. As many students will understand when you’ve been achieving such good grades throughout your studies to suddenly drop is a shock to the system. And as the illness took hold my confidence drained away and so too did my enthusiasm. I couldn’t see any way out and it all became just too much.

Looking back, and with a good dose of hindsight, I should have got in touch with the Open University straight away but I think it was a mixture of failure, shame and sheer disappointment that prevented me from seeking help as soon as it was obvious that I needed it. I also thought it would be the end of the world if I stopped. But it needn’t have been this way. Deferring a course is not to be taken lightly and it’s worth noting that the Open University will work with you to ensure that they can’t offer any other options to you, such as later assignment dates or skipping specific modules. But, if you are certain it is the right decision then it is do-able and your course can be taken back up as long as you adhere to the time rules and regulations and understand the possible financial implications involved.

This was the best choice for me

So, I’m now officially a deferrer and I can honestly say that personally it was the best choice for me. My health is improving day by day and I am using this time out to reflect upon my choices as well as building up my enthusiasm to start again in October. I am simply considering this as a mere short break, a gap year if you like, but I am certainly not going to beat myself up about it because after all, we Open University students have enough to deal with as it is!

And no, my world hasn’t ended, it has just taken a slight detour…

Clair is currently 120 points away from a BA (Hons) in English Literature and is an avid reader, regular book reviewer and newbie freelance writer. You can follow her on Twitter @clair_louise80

Does this sound familiar to you? Have you had to defer or do you have thoughts or opinions on the matter?  Feel free to leave a comment below or a LIKE/TWEET/SHARE across our social media platforms.