By Leanne Goodall

Getting an Open University degree is a marathon but you CAN do it!

So you’ve made the jump and signed up to do your first module – well done! It’s all a bit daunting though, isn’t it?Saying you’re going to do it and actually doing it are two different things. It’s no secret: you’re in for a long journey but guess what? You CAN do it! This is your marathon and it starts here. I’m going to show you why I think this is a marathon and how you can succeed by looking at it that way too.

Around seven or eight years ago I signed up for my first ever OU module. I was intrigued about doing a degree but I hadn’t signed up for that. All I had signed up for was one 60 point module because I wanted something to keep my brain going while I was at home on maternity leave and…..

If I’m honest, I still didn’t believe I could do a degree

My module was an eye-opener and I learned a lot. I became friendly with some of the other students and even connected with one of them via Facebook. She was going on to continue a Psychology degree but the idea of a whole degree was still rather daunting to me and I wasn’t sure about my subject choices. So I banked my 60 credits and took some time to think.

One day I got a reality check

Soon enough I was working, volunteering and keeping myself very busy with two children and a husband. Doing more study with the OU was always in the back of my mind but it seemed such a long and hard journey that I didn’t seem to believe I would actually finish it. IT almost felt like the end would never be a reality. Months turned into years and we were soon a family of five with busy schedules to keep. My husband often told me that I was capable of completing a degree but I still doubted myself and, in terms of a degree, I couldn’t see that far into the future. Then one day I got a reality check.

I was scrolling through Facebook and one post stood out and hit me. My student friend from that first course had posted pictures of herself in her graduation gowns – she had done it! Suddenly time seemed so different and the realities of having a degree and changing my future prospects seemed so possible. I no longer saw it as an impossible marathon with no end but instead it became a journey that, if I took one step at a time, I could do too. Marathon runners don’t run without an end to be found. They take a steady pace and draw on endurance to help them achieve things that once seemed out of reach. In just a few short years I could actually have a degree.

Take your degree step by step, page by page

I’m now four years into my degree and am so glad for that moment that helped me gain a positive perspective about time and about actually gaining a degree in the real world (not just a dream one). When I eventually signed up to begin my real degree journey I always saw it as an achievable marathon. I always knew that if I took it step by step or page by page then I would always be making progress. Every page I turned and every TMA I submitted was once down and a step closer to the end goal.

Yes my marathon journey is a long one and it’s not easy but I don’t look on it in a negative way. I just keep picking up my books, writing a line, getting a point and moving forward. It really doesn’t seem that long since I re-started with the OU. I’ve done one module each year for the last three years and I’ve just signed up for my penultimate module. The end of that marathon is not so far away now and I’m gaining a second wind of energy. I will get my degree and so can you.

Leanne is halfway through a BA (Hons) in History with the OU and enjoys writing as a freelancer as well as on her personal blog, Growing my Knowing, where she catalogues her experiences as a student. You can catch up on all of Leanne’s excellent contributions for STOU here.

As Leanne says, getting an OU degree is a marathon but very achievable with hard work and persistence. Let us know how you are finding it. Please LIKE/TWEET/SHARE or leave a comment below. This social currency helps us to grow and improve the value we are able to provide for OU students.

The Open University study guide is now available! Click on this image to find out more.

The Open University study guide is now available! Click on this image to find out more.