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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Love. . . getting back into study

There, I've admitted it. I've come out as a study geek!

I completed my BSc(hons) way back in 1993, and since then, although I have done loads of courses through work and in my own time, I have never done any further academic study. 2011 promised to be different, when I signed up for a post-graduate e-learning course in "dysphagia" (swallowing disorders) with the University of Auckland.

I was looking forward to gaining some much-needed skills and knowledge from the course, but never expected to enjoy it quite so much. . . that has been something of a surprise, and has earned me the nickname of "Hermione" at home!

Today I handed in my third assignment in as many weeks and what a great feeling that was! During the last few weeks I have written my first academic essay in 18 years, created some dysphagia resources for children and done my first ever piece of "Reflective writing." Phew! There is still a written exam and videofluoroscopy interpretation to do at the end of June, and then I will be finished.

It's amazing to see how much study techniques have changed over the last 18 years. When I was at Newcastle University back in the late 80s and early 90s, the internet was in its infancy. E-learning was not commonplace and searching for academic papers involved lengthy periods spent in the University library laboriously searching on a microfiche reader and thumbing through hefty bound volumes of academic journals and finally photocopying the most pertinent articles at a rate of 5 pence per sheet. Mind you, at least the library was dry and warm and spending time there saved on our student heating bills!

But this time around, it never occurred to me that I might be able to access the University of Auckland's library online. I am embarrassed to admit that I did the first half of my course without using the Uni library once, relying on the hospital's library instead. Finally, when I was bemoaning my lack of academic papers in preparation for essay-writing, my up-to-date (and also post-grad studying) Wifie suggested that I simply must be able to access the Uni library online and so I investigated, after protesting "But they didn't tell us anything about that!" Sure enough, times have changed and now I can sit in the comfort of my own home and "slurp" interesting looking academic papers right off the internet version of the Uni Library and have them download onto our home computer. What a revelation! It seems "they" didn't tell us this was possible because it is common knowledge amongst studying types, and fair enough too. I have not been the "studying type" for 18 years, but I certainly am now!

I feel like a dinosaur. But a dinosaur who is happily sampling the marvels of all the technological advances in the last 18 years and really appreciating exercising the grey matter! I even enjoyed writing my essay - which I was kind of dreading.

So there you have it. I admit it. I really am a study geek, even if a rather pre-historic one. . .


  1. Glad to hear you've been introduced to the wonders of academic journals online. It really is marvellous and something I really miss not being a student.

    Its sad there wasn't something more formal introducing you to the availability of online resources.

    If you have time try the citation program EndNote, it makes referencing so much easier and many journal articles link directly in so you don't even have to type in the details. Then you set the citation style you need, link it with MS Word and bam you have an in text citation and reference list at the end of your essay :D

  2. Hmm, I haven't heard of EndNote (no surprises there!) but it sounds really useful. Will definitely check it out. Thanks very much for the tip. . .

  3. As a rather old and battered OU graduate ( the Open University, the original distance learning joint for those readers who haven't yet heard of the institution)I can fully understand the pleasure you got from getting the old grey matter churning once again. There, however is just one small snag... It can be addictive and it's possible that you could get carried away with the joys of studying. On the bright side though, there are much worse things to get addicted to. Though how you manage to fit this in with all the other interests... knitting ,spinning, cooking and all the rest is pretty damn amazing. the best of luck for the end of June and here's to another certificate to hang on the wall. : Geoff

  4. Good for you for going back to study and I admire your enthusiasm too ;) I have a BSc Hons too - many years ago now. Good Luck with the rest of your course