Really fucked things up and about to be kicked out of the OU (yes, that really can happen). Advice and a shoulder to cry on please :(

(16 Posts)
fuzzpig Sat 13-Oct-12 16:34:41

Been doing an OU degree for a while now. Very lucky to have been fully funded throughout due to our income. And now I have totally screwed it up.

Things have been difficult at home for a couple of years and I made bad choices about courses and dropped out when I couldn't handle it. This course was officially my last chance, I took it on knowing that if I failed or quit, that's it. I am no longer allowed to study with the OU, ever.

Got awesome grades on TMAs 1-4. Fit it in with my first job despite rapidly declining mental health.

Then I got really sick. I have a preliminary dx of CFS/ME. I can hardly move a lot of the time let alone read and write. My tutor spoke to my region and then I stupidly delayed speaking to them myself because when I am sad and in pain it is too much to handle. I am so mad at myself.

So now it is too late too take interrupted study. They've said I may be able to defer the exam if they let me, but I don't even know if I'll be able to take the exam ever because my stupid brain is no longer working. I am seeing a specialist next month and also seeing a psychologist to assess whether I have Aspergers. But the course will be finished by then.

Sorry for the rant I just don't know what to do. Sometimes I think I don't even care anymore, sometimes I think it's ok because maybe I can go to a local uni one day instead, and other times like right now I just cry and cry because I don't think I have a hope in hell of doing anything, ever. I am a clever person, it is all I have, and yet I have achieved nothing.

Any ideas?

AlexanderS Sat 13-Oct-12 17:22:26

I'm sorry you've been having a hard time. How far through the course are you - how many credits do you have from modules you've completed and passed? I just want to get a full picture of where you're at before I attempt to advise you.

fuzzpig Sat 13-Oct-12 17:31:35

In terms of what I've actually completed I have half a degree:

I have 90pts at level 1:
60pts Dd100 social sciences
30pts Mst121 maths

90pts at level 2:
30pts ms221 maths, distinction I think?
60pts m208 maths, 2:1 type pass

This one is Ed209 child development (level 2, 60pts) - I had switched from maths to an open degree which I kind of regret anyway.

AlexanderS Sat 13-Oct-12 18:24:47

Hmmm, so you've done well in the modules you've completed and are well on your way to completing a degree.

Were you planning to do the Open degree without honours (300 credits) or the Open degree with honours (360 credits)? I really think that people are better off doing honours degrees, a degree without honours doesn't mean much to employers (and whilst with all your health issues you might not be thinking about employment at the moment you may want to in the future).

You could get an Open CertHE from the OU, you already have the credit for that. Then you could transfer to a conventional campus-based university to finish your degree, beginning at the start of Year 2.

But that is for the future because at the minute you don't feel well enough to do anything. It would be good, if at all possible, for you to sit this final exam. But if you're not up to it you're not up to it. Only you can decide if you can push yourself through it or not (bear in mind you only need 40% to pass). Once you're through with that one way or the other you need a break from studying to sort yourself out.

If you have this assessment for Asperger's and it comes back positive I would, if and when you feel able to go back to study, approach the OU to see if they'll let you back on the course in light of your diagnosis (I imagine they would because they wouldn't want to be seen to be discriminating against somebody with a disability). I would also get assessed by an educational psychologist, who will be able to tell you what adjustments you need, if any, in order to make the most of the course.

Another possibility is walking away from the OU with an Open DipHE (if you can do that final exam).

Hope that helps.

AlexanderS Sat 13-Oct-12 18:34:53

Have just realised if you were to go and finish your degree at a conventional uni you would have to fund a bit of it yourself, as you can only get funding for up to 4 years full-time study at undergrad level (i.e. 480 credits). At least that used to be the case - things might've changed since the increase in tuition fees.

fuzzpig Sat 13-Oct-12 18:45:39

That's really helpful thanks. Feeling a bit less frantic about it now.

I had wondered about using the partial credit elsewhere. I don't know anything about funding for mature students but in any case as you say it is something for the future when I am better (I feel like it is 'if' rather than 'when')

My plan was to do the full 360pts. I work in a job that I could get a chartership in, which a degree would be a shortcut to (librarian), the other possibility was a primary PGCE. However I am currently worrying that I won't be able to even work full time (I may need to reduce my hours or ask for redeployment within the council, if not then it may come down to medical retirement at the age of 25) so it could be that neither of those career choices are right for me.

Is it that 120pts makes a certHE and 240pts makes a diploma? I was wondering if it was possible to just use my maths credits (which make 120pts) and do a maths degree but I don't even know if I'm capable anymore. Do you know how I go about getting the certificate awarded to prove what I've done so far?

I'm just not sure whether to keep battling for this course, knowing that it's not likely to be a good result... Or just cut and run and forget the OU completely.

Sorry I'm being all maudlin about it. I really do appreciate you taking the time to reply x

fuzzpig Sat 13-Oct-12 18:49:04

I'm not sure how much funding I've had that would count against me - I have dropped out of 120pts worth of courses in the past not including the current one, but half of that I quit very early which I think meant I retained some of the funding IYSWIM

Ugh I sound so pathetic blush

AlexanderS Sat 13-Oct-12 21:29:05

Yes, it's 120 credits for a CertHE and 240 for a DipHE. In Maths it might be different because of the specialist nature of the subject but usually conventional unis don't mind if you do some credits in subjects other than the one you want to graduate in in your first year. I did 60 credits of Spanish and 60 credits of American Studies (history and literature) in the first year of my Politics degree. Not that it matters, as you have the 120 credits anyway! If you wanted the CertHE I would ring the Student Registration and Enquiry Service to see how to go about obtaining it. I think you also need to establish exactly how much funding you've had and how much you'd be entitled to in the future.

fuzzpig Sun 14-Oct-12 09:24:18

I was actually thinking about what would happen if I did try and sit the exam tomorrow, but I honestly can't remember enough to even scrape a pass. There are four blocks to the course and I haven't even opened books 3 and 4, and only managed the first few essays by skim reading and picking out the right info. I think basically I made a massive mistake choosing this course, I wish I'd stuck with maths now.

The two level 3 courses I was considering had no exams which would be a positive. I used to be great at exams (I aced my first OU exam when DS was six weeks old!) but this illness is destroying my brain angry I'm concerned that if I go to uni one day I won't be able to cope with the workload or exams. Although maybe it'll be easier when my DCs are older.

I hate this uncertainty. I think it would help if I could have proof of something. So I will definitely ask about the certificate thing.

Funding wise, with the OU I know they only fund you if you complete the degree in 6 years, so I would have to pay for anything that I start after next year. No way could I afford that sad bugger.

AlexanderS Sun 14-Oct-12 11:26:55

What if you deferred the exam for, say, a week or two weeks? Do you think you'd be able to cram enough to pass?

fuzzpig Sun 14-Oct-12 11:53:20

Not allowed to do that unfortunately, you defer until the next presentation of the course AFAIK. Which would probably be better anyway. There is just so much going on right now. DH had an operation on his spine 3 weeks ago so it's a madhouse here!

AlexanderS Sun 14-Oct-12 15:06:29

Oh that's not bad then. I think you should definitely aim to do that exam. You've already done four good TMAs, you just need to do this one exam and you're there.

Fluffanstuff Sun 21-Oct-12 13:40:59

Hi similar situation I had CFS before GCSE exams at school. My specialist told me that people who get ME and CFS tend to be people that really like to push themselves. I sort of had a similar situation in terms of being told to quit and come back another time. I didn't but I ended up schooling myself at home. The benefits of OU is that you can work on days , and at times where your having a good patch (....well a slight improvement patch I call them) But then you have to weigh up whether having this on your shoulders is doing you more harm than good.

I did my exams ... god knows how , I know how you feel my memory was shot ! . I went in with the attitude if i pass i pass that will be great , If i don't ive got a good reason. Perhaps do the same , if you pass great , if not deal with it when your feeling a bit more up to it.

fuzzpig Sun 21-Oct-12 15:58:29

Thanks, I have asked my doctor for a note, so assuming it gets to the regional centre it should be ok. The resit is in 6 months. I am still not sure if it might be better to just walk away now - knowing I have 180 points - rather than have the stress of revision (well, learning really, as I don't even know the material to revise) which may well make me more ill. But, if I have permission for a resit, then I have the option to choose later.

You're not wrong about pushing myself. I am my own worst critic.

gingergran Sun 21-Oct-12 16:28:44

Did you sit the exam fuzzpig? I heard it was horrible. I have the pleasure of starting again in February although my marks for the first three TMAs will be carried forward. From what i remember that means I get to start with the ghastly report ... on well onwards and upwards

I am doing 2 x 15 point modules in the meantime, applied psychology which is OK and autism, which starts in a couple of weeks but the reading is really interesting.

Hope that you feel better able to cope soon. Why not give yourself a complete break for a couple of weeks before you make any decisions.

fuzzpig Sun 21-Oct-12 16:34:14

Hello ginger!

No, no exam here, but I bumped into someone from my tutor group and she said it was really awful, a complete change from the previous years and practise papers etc. Bit of a hooha apparently confused

Just too tired to think about it now. Will send DH to pick up my note tomorrow, and send it off, but then I will just be trying to get on with work which is enough of a struggle.

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