Squeamish Sue is approaching the end of her Access course, after all the form filling, homework and exams Sue reflects on her new attitude to her education and intelligence.
I didn’t want to do a vocational degree. In fact I had no idea I could do a degree of ANY kind at one time because I simply imagined one had to have a whole string of prior qualifications before setting foot in a learning environment again. I don’t have a single certificate to my name unless you count a diploma from Durban Business College in 1969. All I possess is a keen interest in people; I never realised that this energy could be channelled into a practical learning environment.
Image: Tiffany Terry
Squeamish Sue has been having more mother-in-law trouble, she’s trapped in the cruel grasp of a charity shop bolero and Warwick University are making demands. Still, at least she’s up a tenner.
My college pal Fern and I walked into town today and whilst standing on a street corner, were accosted by a guy who asked if we wanted to make £10. I wasn’t sure whether to be insulted or grateful. It turned out he was drumming up custom for volunteers to complete a questionnaire about VAX’s new product packaging.
Half-Term is over but Sue isn't feeling particularly well rested, thanks to her Mother-In-Law's fondness for timer switches. There are also exams to contend with, if only Sue's pen could keep the ink supply going and she could remember what she sat down at to write...
Half term and reading week simply dragged because I really just wanted to get on with the exams and get them out the way. English Sociology and History essays are drafted in full. I typed them out, but then I also hand wrote them. Two reasons, one to practise writing with a fountain pen and the other to determine whether I could write 1000+ words in an hour and a half. I can. Only trouble is the ink cartridge is now empty.
Sue’s on half term, but it’s not a holiday. There’s work to do, interviews to attend and electrical appliances to explain to her Mother-in-law.
And she shouldn’t even have to do any of this Miss, ‘cos she’s got a verruca.
It’s half term this week, and hot on its heels will be reading week, immediately followed by what our modus operandi has been leading up to since the outset, exam week. These are seen exams. Seen exams are, obviously, where you see the question in advance. Not so obvious, at least not to me, is the fact that one cannot take into the exam room anything but the clothes you stand up in. And a pen (well, two in case one runs out – but they have to be in a transparent cheat proof pencil case). All the prep done in advance has to be committed to memory; this includes all citations and any references used, though we are spared the Bibliography. How thoughtful.
Image: Mark Roy
Squeamish Sue is handling being a mature student just fine, in fact she's getting top marks. It's real life that she's struggling to navigate, and nudist etiquette.
Ask anyone. They will confirm that my IT skills leave a lot to be desired. I am not called dinosaur for nothing, my ability not to grasp what to everyone else is, in the words of John Cleese, the bleedin’ obvious, is to die for. All the more reason for me to delight in getting a distinction in my IT exam! It essentially entailed using Word 2010 (can I product place?) to the best of its capabilities, but nonetheless I was still very pleased since its capabilities are extensive. The next phase of the exam will be Internet skills, so I won’t hold my breath.
Mock maths exams on Monday. Oh joy. We have been learning about ratios, seven parts gin to one part tonic is a good practical example. And probability theories. Probably the best lager in the world, that kind of thing. That bit I understand. However If you have six different pairs of socks in a sack, how many socks do you have to remove to be sure of getting a matching pair? Unless the sack is transparent, I have absolutely no idea!
Photo: Lidyanne Aquino
Mature student Sue is back after the Christmas holidays, all her good intentions to revise over the holidays have been dashed and term's started. But at least she's handy with the cereal packets...
Well, here we are with the festivities done and dusted. End of term was 19th December and I had to endure more friendly jibes from the neighbours about how busy students are! What they didn’t realise was that I had three assignments to do over the break, the first of which was due the day we got back, which I realised with alarm was increasingly imminent.
Photo: Wayne Hiebert
Squeamish's resident mature student Sue's studies are going well. If only she could get her glasses prescription right...
Half term has been and gone, I blinked and missed it. In fact I didn’t blink much at all due to the matchsticks holding my eyelids open whilst I completed my History, English and Sociology Assignments! They were quite involved and I wanted to get on with them to give me a breather between the finish of one lot and the start of the next; so I was a bit put out to find that the nearer we got to the deadline, the more help we were given. The dilemma being if you leave it for long enough, you will receive enough hand outs to virtually write the thing for you, but you have no time in which to write it because by then the next assignment is being handed out.
Study is starting to lose its glow for our Squeamish mature student Sue...
You know when you tell everyone around you about something, and big it up enthusiastically; not exaggerate exactly, but by reiterating something it kind of reinforces it in your own mind? Well I am guilty of not chanting the ‘I am really enjoying college’ mantra this week even though I had been saying this to everyone else around me when asked how it was going.
Don’t misunderstand me; we are four weeks into it now and I am really enjoying it and working hard. I have made some nice friends. Well two actually, but come on it’s a start! One of them burst into tears on me and hugged me for grim death whilst she poured her woes into my ear (and down my shirt). I accompanied the other to an open day at Birmingham City University at the weekend where I was mistaken for her mother!
Image: Arthur Public Library
Squeamish Bikini is all about the embracing, that’s why we have a squid as our mascot. We need all those arms for the embracing! So with stingy tentacles restrained we welcome Sue to the site to tell us about her experience as a mature student on an Access course.
I was not encouraged to go on to Higher Education, I think my father felt it wasn’t really for women – get a nice civilized diploma in shorthand and typing there’s a good girl. Mostly women were expected to get married, live in a semi and have 2.4 children. That’s just how it was.