By Leanne Goodall

Studying with the Open University can bring excitement and nerves

It’s a huge thing studying for a degree. It feels even bigger when you take that on whilst juggling a family, a job or just after many, many years without study. Being an Open University student comes with a whole lot more emotion and choosing to start studying with the OU for the first time can bring both excitement and nerves.

Why Get Excited?

Studying with the OU means that you’re taking something big on: a challenge that will lead to something more. Making that leap into studying again often means that you’re finally doing something that you’ve always wanted to do. Or perhaps you’re taking a degree that will lead you into a career that you’ve only ever dreamed of or you’re choosing to study a subject simply because you love it. Either way, it can be a very exciting time for new students who are beginning to realise whatever it is they are after. For me, I’m studying History which is a subject that I had always disliked. Through my studies I realised how interesting it could be and so my degree is a challenge to myself: can I do it? I also began my degree without actually believing I could study at university level. My excitement is centred around the realisation that I can do it and now I know that anything is possible if you want to work for it.

Why be nervous?

So if studying with the OU is so exciting why do students get nervous? We’re all taking on something that we’ve never done before. Fear of the unknown takes over us and self-doubt creeps in. We might be nervous about the subject choice, an element of the module, meeting new people, exams and more. There are a lot of things to get nervous about. When I first started this degree I was nervous that I wouldn’t like History after all, I was nervous of meeting new people, of not measuring up to all of the other obviously clever people, of being judged on my work and of course of the exams. Now I still get nervous about all of those things but my self-belief is much stronger and I understand that nerves are just a feeling.

We’re all taking on something that we’ve never done before.


It’s perfectly understandable to feel both nerves and excitement as a new student of the Open University. In fact, it’s very common so you’re not alone. 3 years in and I still feel both emotions but it really is just part of the journey. Earning a degree is far more than just an academic achievement, it’s about personal growth too. If our reasons for studying a degree are about doing something we’ve always dreamed of or opening doors to an entirely new future then it’s no wonder we get so nervous. So embrace it and buckle up for the ride, it’ll be worth it in the end.

Leanne is half way through a BA (Hons) in History with the Open University and enjoys writing as a freelancer as well as on her blog. Find out more here. You can catch up on all of Leanne’s excellent contributions on STOU here.

Did you feel nervous, excited or a mixture when you started your degree? Studying at a higher level is no easy task so give yourself a pat on the back! If you get a minute then please LIKE/SHARE/TWEET or leave a comment below. This social currency helps us to grow and improve the value and service we are able to provide for OU students 🙂