OK fellow students how many times has somebody walked in and caught you on Twitter, flicking through a newspaper or checking the football scores and muttered this line: “Shouldn’t you be studying?” They look all pleased with themselves, they feel like you’ve been well and truly copped. It doesn’t matter whether you are studying with the Open University, an alternative university or in college or school, that one line can be extremely infuriating. The worst thing is, if you defend yourself or fight your corner then it just looks or feels like an excuse or denial. Don’t misunderstand me, having well-meaning friends or family keeping an eye out for you can help ensure that you don’t start slacking or fall off the studying wagon and can be very motivating at times but sometimes you’re just looking to cop a break.

“You’re only cheating yourself” somebody once said to me. Cheating…..cheating?! I haven’t done anything wrong! Oh and it’s the summer holidays, I’m not even doing my Open University work at the moment, I’m on hiatus. Yes even when working toward an OU degree we can still have summer holidays and organise modules around our lives. In this case I was doing just that; sitting (literally) in between courses having just finished a monster run of back-to-back modules which is was an experience I would not necessarily recommend you replicate and you can read all about here.

The Open University students’ Twitter account is always good value for a bit of information or entertainment, especially the “Best overheard” tweets that they send out which invites students to send in amusing or inspirational snippets. The one below was recently tweeted out and follows on in the “shouldn’t you be studying?” vein.

Best overheard ‪#‎OUstudent‬ comment: ‘Told an OU student isn’t a real student! My reply “you’re right, I get less hangovers & more work done!’

So while there are occasions when we can smugly sneer at whoever is questioning our motivations there are of course occasions when somebody asks “Shouldn’t you be studying?” and they are right. We should be studying and we just aren’t doing it. There are many real-life and online distractions to keep us away from that vital TMA. Social media, computer games, screaming kids – the temptation to procrastinate or set work aside is endless. Whether you feel guilty, defensive or angry and violent (hopefully not the latter) then you could always hit them with a come back line like, “Shouldn’t you be minding your own business?!” But that could be a bit rude 🙂

There are more articles going up all the time on site and if you want to contribute or have a topic suggestion that we could blog about then get in touch!


The Open University Students’ Twitter account contains plenty of tips and hints and brilliant anecdotes to keep you entertained.

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