Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Uni update

I know you have all been wondering how I'm getting on at Uni so I thought I had better update you.

The course itself is going well so's not easy but it's going well. At the moment the focus on the 'Management for Working in Communities' module is all about using various methods to examine your behaviour and, if I'm honest, I'm finding that a bit intense. Some things have come as no surprise, some have taken me aback slightly and answering some of the why questions has been a rather painful process (still, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger eh!!). Once the 'Self Audit' assessment is out the way, it's due on the 6th of November, the focus of the module will shift and it will be about changing the negative behaviours and building on the positive ones and I think that process is going to be quite empowering so I'm looking forward to it!!

The Community Development module is proving absolutely fascinating!! We're learning about the history of Community Development (not just in this country but across the world), looking at the different ways of defining a 'community' and at conflict within communities. We have people from all walks of life on the course.....I am learning a hell of a lot about the flaws (gaping chasms) in our countries current policies, racism in all it's shapes and forms and about what brings people together and blows them apart!! The first assignment for this class is due on the 10th of December and is to take the form of a community profile (I'll come back to what my options are on this later) which I think will be a very useful tool for identifying needs and finding solutions to some current issues within the community being focused on.

I've also started work (unpaid sadly, but hopefully that will change in the future) at an organisation called THINk. (THINk is Tower Hamlets version of LINk (Local Involvement Networks)....the LINk's took over from where the Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Forums left off and there is one in every Local Authority area in England). The people are lovely and I think it's going to work out well!! We have agreed a scope of work and, happily, the areas that they would like me to focus on fit perfectly with what I'm being asked to do for Uni. So I will be undertaking a number of community profiles.....probably one involving young people, another one looking at a specific group within the Bangladeshi community and one focusing on patients that are currently housebound. I will also be conducting discovery interviews, coming up with a way of capturing 'patient experience' for those with long term illnesses and producing a report based on a piece of work I did in Salford which we are going to try and adapt to fit with what's going on in Tower Hamlets.

So, as I said, the course is going well....what's not going quite so well is how I'm feeling. I'm finding the travelling and being away from home aspect really tough!! I knew I was going to miss Chris but didn't expect to feel like I'm living two lives and both of them out of a suitcase. It's only my fourth week and already I am shattered......I leave home at about 10.30am on the day I leave for London and I don't get to Tom's till about 10.30pm. (It's a long day and that's the day I do the tough personality stuff!!). I work the next day (which will involve evening meetings and did last week) and the following day....then when works finished I head over to Uni for another three hour lecture, get the tube to Paddington and then get the train home. (Chris picks me up from the station but I don't actually walk in the door till about 11.30pm). I know that this will probably get easier as I get used to it and it becomes routine but at the moment I feel like I'm just get settled at home when I'm off to London again and vice versa.

I shouldn't complain, a good friend of mine is having to cope with a lot worse, but I just know that I'm going to look like a mad old hag by the end of this semester (and if any of you say anything about already looking like a mad old hag I will be forced to bash you!!) so god alone knows how bad it's going to be by the end of the year!! Still, I guess it will help with the scaring of young children so it's not all bad!! *grins*


LadyFi said...

It sounds exhausting - and yet great fun. That community module really does sound fascinating.

French Fancy said...

Oh goodness, I hate travelling at the best of times and this would not be for me. But just think about the end result - the highly paid job in the area that you want and all those developed brain cells. There'll be weeks you feel knackered and weeks you feel invigorated and hopefully soon the latter will take over from the former


Susan McDougall said...

Oh My Word - hope things settle down - although at least you are loving the course and work - otherwise would be unbearable.
Was going to ask if you wanted to meet up in London when I am over in December but sounds like you don't have much free time.
Susan xxx

Juniper said...

Oh my, does sound really interesting and challenging. The commuting to London sounds totally draining, is it every week? It will be worth it in the end and it does sound like a full new adventure, guess making time for down time will also be a challenge (tricky with a growing list of school assignments). I went back last year to do a PGCE course and found it exhausting, good but was hard to juggle the kids, marriage, settling into a new house and a life in a new country.Am happy I did it and glad for the people I met on that road but am so glad it's now behind me. It's hard to feel stretched thin and not in balance but to have no choice but to carry on.
Good luck with your course, seems that already you are learning a good deal.

Kevin Mullins said...

Wow - it does sound exhausting. Not so long ago I was doing a daily commute to London - and the site of the Kemble Tunnel on the final leg was always a welcome site.

JJ Beattie said...

Keep your chin up hon 'cos you're made for this. You'll do brilliantly... It won't be for long. JJx

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

I am deeply impressed - and more firmly convinced than ever that you are very smart but also barking mad! ;-)
It sounds exhilirating but exhausting - but I'm sure you'll find your rhythm and it will get easier with the travelling and two lives thing!
Good luck!

Mark said...

Travelling is tough and, I find, more so when it is to London. I hate that train journey with a passion. But then, when I get there, it has lots of possibilities... like your course it seems.

Lindsay said...

Travelling for you must be realy tough. My stepdaughter (now aged 43) was awarded a grant and has just started a PhD at Plymouth. She has to fit in an 8 hour study day around the family. Her course sounds very very unstructured and she is already worrying how to get all the work finished. She hopes at the end of 3 years to get a job at the university itself.

DJ Kirkby said...

I'm tempted to make a 'mad old had as opposed to?' comment so you come down here to bash me 'cos at least that means we'd see you again bfore our trip to you next year! You are sooo busy! Your course sounds very complex but worthy of your attention. Can't imagine you ever doing something easy anyway...

DJ Kirkby said...

'had'? Arrrggh! I mean't HAG! *sigh*

Debs said...

It takes from 10.30am til 10.30pm? Gawd, I complain if I have to go to town 15 minutes drive away.

It sounds exciting though and well worth doing.

Carol said...

LadyFi - I am loving the course and, your right, the Community Development module is incredibly interesting. I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into the Community Profile for it :-)

French Fancy - Normally I don't mind traveling but it's definitely taking it's toll!! It's the travel combined with long hours, rushed food and not being in my own bed at the end of the day!! They are all adding up to one knackered Carol!!

Highly paid job? In the 3rd sector....I'm not sure such a thing exists :-)

Susan - It would be hellish if I was not enjoying the course!!

I would love to meet up with you. I can do Wednesday evenings :-).

Juniper - Unfortunately it is every week!!

I am full of admiration that you took on a course when you had just moved to a new country! That is a very brave thing to do!! I know exactly what you mean about trying to juggle everything...I'm pretty good with time management so I'm hoping that I will still manage to have some time to myself!!

It will be worth it in the end :-)

Kevin - Bloody hell!! I couldn't do the trip daily...I think it would kill me!! (not to mention the associated cost!!). The only reason I'm managing is because our lovely friend Tom is letting me stay with him while I'm in London...I don't know what I would have done if he wasn't here!!

JJ - Awww, you don't know how much your comment cheered me up today :-). I've given myself half and hour to check the blog and then I'm going to make a start on my fist assignment...bit nervous about it but I'm sure I'll be fine once I start!!

Absolute Vanilla - I'm not sure about the very smart bit but the barking mad bit I completely agree with *Grins*

I'm sure your right, I'll settle into a routine and I'll get used to it but at the moment I just feel (and look) permanently knackered!!

Mark - I don't tend to even really notice the train journey...I use the time to study so it just whizzes past and I'm in London before I know it!!

I know I'm doing the right course for me and I'm really loving it. When I'm here I wish that we lived a five minute walk from the Uni (just because it would be so much easier) but when I get off the train I am so glad that we live where we do :-)

Lindsay - It's the traveling and staying away from home that's doing for me...the long hours and dodgy eating times I can live with!!

Wow, I am most impressed with what your Stepdaughter is undertaking!! That sounds very difficult indeed....please tell her that I wish her all the best with her studies!!

DJ - LOL!!! Your a cheeky bugger *grins*. Oh you never know, we might manage to squeeze in a wee visit before then...

I shouldn't complain about Uni because compared to what your facing my problems are pretty insignificant!!

Debs - Three hours travel from my house to the Uni, study in the library for a couple of hours, have a three hour lecture and then it takes between an hour and an hour and a half to get back to Tom's!! Looooonnnnnnng day!!!

It is exciting and very interesting and I'm loving it :-)

C x

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Oh what a marvellous course you have embarked upon - I loved the sociology module of my Psychology degree and it left me a much more critical thinker and debater on social issues. It's fascinating stuff and sometime the more you learn you feel the less you know! There is just so much else to go deeper into if only you had the time. The long days and the journey's are no doubt exhausting but hopefully you will get used to it. Good luck.

cheshire wife said...

It sounds like hard work all round. Hopefully it will be worth it and you will soon get yourself into a routine. I remember feeling rather shell shocked during my first few weeks at uni. It wasn't quite what I expected, but it would be a boring old world if we didn't have these ups and downs!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you're having fun.

Did you get my email btw? Ok if you have and are run off your feet, but just checking hotmail hasn't eaten it :-).

Paul Arvo (aka 'B')

Lily Sheehan said...

Sorry to hear its so exhausting and that you are missing Chris but remember it will all be worth it in the end and absence makes the heart grow fonder. It's certainly made me rethink just how easy my day is thats for sure!

Unseen Rajasthan said...

nice post !!

Ann said...

Carol, just come back from a week in England, wonderful holiday, though the travelling takes such a lot out of you, or maybe it was the excessive drinking, anyway, needed to come home for a rest, so yes the travelling is a wee nuisance, but brilliant girl, this is a difficult time for you and Chris, somehow you will get by, you find an inner strength, it becomes worthwhile, because you are worth it

Hullaballoo said...

Commuting and studying, whilst fitting in a part-time job is tiring, so make sure you take good care of yourself and remember the basics that are so easily forgotten when you are under stress. So pleased you are enjoying the course and it is so interesting for you.

Carol said...

MOB - I am really enjoying the course!! I've already had a few 'Oh, I wish I had known about that technique when I was dealing with...' moments. I think I'm going to get a hell of a lot out of it!!

Cheshire Wife - I know exactly what you mean about shell shocked!! I wasn't expecting the learning sets (you work in small groups, one person outlines a problem they are having in relation to their work and then you ask them questions about it (not allowed to offer any solutions) till they have come up with how to deal with it themselves) but I have done something similar when I did my Common Purpose course so hopefully they will be helpful.

Paul - I didn't get your e-mail but have sent you one :-)

Lily - We are definintely making more time for one another.....although we have always done things togehter! Hmm...I think perhaps we appreciate the time a bit more!! (or it could just be that Chris gets peace from the cats when I come back home so he's pleased to see me :-D)

Unseen - Thanks :-)

Ann - I have a sudden urge to flick my hair :-)

I know it will be worth it in the end...The great thing about the course is, although it's academic, it's practical too and I learning things that will actually help 'on the job'.

Hullabahoney - Ha, you are so right!! At the moment it's trying to find the time to eat...before class is too early and by the time class finishes it's too late!! Still, I need to lose a bit of weight so it won't do me any's not like I'm going to starve any time soon :-)

C x

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

Sounds like 'tough times' for you Carol, but generally rewarding hopefully. Good to hear about the work with THINk, the experience should be useful too. BFN. Lesley
PS Am following now.

Carol said...

Sea Blue - It will be worth it in the end....I think that is going to be my new mantra :-)

Yay, to having a new follower :-). (Is it sad that I get follower envy?)

C x

Blu said...

Well they said it all! LOL..hard work but if you feel that the work is right up your street then I guess you have to handle the bad bits and try and find something good or even useful about the travel. Maybe a great time to catch up on your reading?
Take care Blu x

LadyFi said...

Poor you having to read just academic books..but just think what fun you'll have later on when you have a break and can kick back with a good novel! ;-)

Carol said...

Blu - I'm currently using the train journey to study so that when it comes to the weekend Chris and I can spend it together (in saying that I spent all day on Sunday working on my first assignment...the best laid plans of mice and men eh)

LadyFi - I know...and I am!!! Your the third person this week who's blogged about a book I've thought 'Oh, that sounds fantastic' TBBL (To Be Bought List) is growing at an alarming rate :-)

C x

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