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This sounds really wanky - but help me with my obsession re. getting a first (think I am a tw*t)

(87 Posts)
hmc Wed 15-Jul-09 22:41:06

I already have a couple of degrees (don't know why I feel I have to say that, I think I am an intellectual snob and don't want anyone to think this is my first degree because I couldn't cut it at school blush blush...why am I like this???)

Anyways - am currently doing OU History degree (started in Feb) - to keep my mind ticking over and something for me (as a SAHM - because...so easily... you can loose your sense of self)

Have done level 1 module and am awaiting result ...but it is only level 2 and level 3 courses which count toward degree classification. For some reason am obsessed with getting a first (got 2:1 in my first degree). All good so far - first three assignments for my first level 2 course have achieved the required 85%+...but this doesn't come easily, I literally sweat blood to get these marks

So, everybody else on the course forum just wants a pass and I am having kittens over every assignment and forthcoming exam desperate to maintain 85% plus. Next assignment due on 14 August but kids break up from school next Wednesday....am mega stressed as I can see my mark for next assignment suffering (no time - pushy ankle biters). Being mean and intolerant to children atm as I want to study

Help me get some perspective. I keep saying to myself - you are doing this for 'fun' and yet you are making a meal of it...but am still obsessing

Am causing my own pressure. How do I persuade myself that it doesn't matter if I don't get a first?

Sorry a bit pissed and sound like a prat - but genuinely, this issue (as trivial as it may sound) is causing me grief - am not looking forward to school summer holidays because of it

pointydog Wed 15-Jul-09 22:56:41

work hard, hope for the best and expect the worst.

How old are your dc? I'm thinking either they are young, will go to bed early-ish and you can work at night or they are older and they can go off and play and amuse themselves and you can work in teh day

pointydog Wed 15-Jul-09 22:57:04

you do sound like a nob wink

hmc Wed 15-Jul-09 22:58:18

Yes I know pointy - but it is how I feel. Can't help my nob-i-ness. Nobody is perfect!

They are 5 and 7 (and right royal pains in the arse)

pointydog Wed 15-Jul-09 22:59:34

s'ok, we're all nobbish in some way.

5 and 7 - get them to bed sharpish and work from 8.30 till 11?

Katisha Wed 15-Jul-09 23:06:28

Maybe you just have to accept it's how you are.
I would want a first as well to be honest.

But I think the balance needs to be found between wanting one and striving hard to do your best and saying actually I am in a different place to where I was in my first degrees now, and my circs mean that I have to also do my best for my children. So that means there are now other factors that come into play at this stage in my life and which may affect the outcome.

And decide whether you are doing this to keep your brain ticking over or whether it's to prove some point I suppose - and if there's any element of the latter, then what point, to whom, why and actually does it really matter?

Finishes rambling.

hmc Wed 15-Jul-09 23:09:50

Thanks katisga - that helps. I think it is to prove some point to myself ..and I need to give myself a good shake. Fgs - why do I need to do that?

I am in a different place and family is more important. That's spot on

hmc Wed 15-Jul-09 23:14:22

katisha (blush]

Molesworth Wed 15-Jul-09 23:15:13

You don't need to get 85+ in every single assignment to get a first, but I realise that isn't the point.

Is it a case of rampant perfectionism?

I'm also doing an OU degree. A couple of years ago my perfectionism got so bad that I dropped the course I was doing. I got hung up on one assignment and just couldn't bring myself to submit it if it was less than 'perfect'.

I talked with one of my tutors about this, and he told me that in future I should just bloody well submit something rather than sabotage myself in this way. I started a new course and, sure enough, I got stuck again. I forced myself to submit my incomplete essay as it was, and I got a pass 3 for it. OK, it didn't feel good, but at the same time I was weirdly proud of myself for overcoming the perfectionism. It felt like more of an achievement than getting a distinction. The poor mark didn't make any difference to my final result in that course.

What I'm trying to say in a very rambling, roundabout way is that a few 'poor' marks (always remembering that one man's poor mark is another man's major achievement) really don't matter. Have a play with the qualification planner (via OU Student Home) and you'll see that you don't need to get distinctions in all your courses to get your first. If your problem is perfectionism, this probably won't ease the pressure in itself, but sod it, I'll mention it anyway.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to get a first, by the way grin

TheFallenMadonna Wed 15-Jul-09 23:17:43

Nah - I wanted one too! Also an OU degree, and also not my first degree.

Do remember that there is some wiggle room with the OU, despite what it says in the assessment booklet. I did five courses (all psychology, three level 2 and two level 3), and it was only in the last that I got over 85% for both TMAs and exam. Before that I'd been very close with my TMA average and comfortably over with the exam and was bumped up to a distinction overall. Hurrah!

I always told my fellow students that I wanted a 2:1. But it wasn't true.

hmc Wed 15-Jul-09 23:19:28

I do have a problem with perfectionism Molesworth - and it is a problem. I think perfectionists are predisposed to depression. Am genuinely fascinated by your experience in submitting a less than perfect assingment - I can see that it would be a release in some way

hmc Wed 15-Jul-09 23:20:12

assignment (see, I can't even leave typos alone)

hmc Wed 15-Jul-09 23:21:17

Well done FallenMadonna! (surpresses green eyed monster wink)

CountessDracula Wed 15-Jul-09 23:22:44

my niece just got a first
(sorry that isn't helpful is it)

Why do you think you want one so badly?
Do you feel you have something to prove?
And how are you? not seen you fro ages (now I know whylol)

BuckBuckMcFate Wed 15-Jul-09 23:23:43

Ooh I am so glad that you started this thread!

Of course YABU but I completely understand.

I am on a course which allows me to get credits (10 per module) and when I reach 120 I can miss out the first year of uni and go straight into 2nd year.

For the first 6 modules I got A14's and A15's.

I have just handed in a piece which is only 30% of the mark for one module and I got a B14 for it and am gutted!!

In my head I know it's not a bad result and I was quite poorly when I was doing it and so were the kids but I am still beating myself up over it!

TBH I'm not sure I'll ever think any piece of work is good enough to hand in

hatwoman Wed 15-Jul-09 23:24:29

hmc - you don't sound like a knob. It's actually quite likely that your attitude to study is very different to when you were previously studying - and that will stand you in very good stead. I hope it's not a patronising question but are you an organised, systematic student? with kids it's the only way to be. chop up your work, look at what you need to achieve to do well, allocate what time you have in a sensible way - by which I mean if you have to cover 3 topics of equal importance give them equal time - and stop. don't spend extra time on something at the expense of something else.

I did a masters a couple of years ago and was determined to get a distinction. I was very hard-nosed about it. I chose some of my options by looking at exam papers and deciding which looked more "me" (ie easier blush); I pretty much did a timetable of study for the whole year - was very strict about it, looked very closely at what I would need to achieve to get the distinction. The key thing was to allocate time "fairly" to different topics, not get sidetracked.

Now I know you weren;t asking for advice about how to get that mark...so perhaps all that is spectacularly unhelpful...but if I add to it that by being systematic, doing your timetables (including, of course, time with kids, working out the precise impact of the holidays etc) then you can be realistic about what you can achieve and you'll be able to say - whatever mark you do get - that you did your best. That, for me, was the main thing. When it came to exam time I was able to think, well, if I don;t get a distinction, I'll have no regrets - because I did the best I could as a mum of young kids. so think if it like that - and you can be focsued on doing the best you can, rather than the first. and you may be pleasantly suprised. good luck.

Puddlet Wed 15-Jul-09 23:25:07

I did get a first first time around and am currently doing another degree. I know that I won't get a first overall this time. I think that's okay though - I guess I've made peace with myself about it.

I get the work done in the evenings - from about 8pm onwards, sometimes until 1 in the morning depending on how much there is to do. I think I've accepted that there are times when I can be productive and others less so - this week has been a blur of teething and a stomach upset so I've not been up to much more than watching trashy tv in the evening.

Is it possible though that you'd be happier if you could find a job? At least that way you could justify paying for childcare while you work.... and it might give you the validation you need?

Molesworth Wed 15-Jul-09 23:25:57

Interesting point about depression and perfectionism: I hadn't made that connection but I certainly suffer from both!

I often think about this whole issue because I haven't managed to get to the bottom of it myself, so I will follow this thread with great interest.

I'm guessing that part of it is being annoyed with yourself that you didn't get your first the first time around (too many 'firsts' there, sorry!), so you've got something to prove to yourself this time?

hatwoman Wed 15-Jul-09 23:26:07

blush at length. I agree re the perfectionism thing - letting that go was what enabled ne to allocate the right amount of time to each topic.

Quattrocento Wed 15-Jul-09 23:29:22

What's the problem? I totally understand perfectionism - do the very best that you can. S'what I teach my DCs.

Go with it hatwoman. Get your first.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 15-Jul-09 23:31:11

Although I'm the complete opposite of hatwoman in terms of working (deadline queen me!), I do agree that you've got to walk into that exam feeling like you could have done no more.

I was shocking about keeping to the study calendar. I did the work for the TMAs and nothing else really, until a month before the exam when I did nothing else really. Shamefully neglected the children blush and let the house go to ruin, but I knew the stuff. I lived in a little bubble of psychology and actually really enjoyed it <odd>. And I was prepared for anything really.

But hatwoman's way is much, much more sensible grin

Quattrocento Wed 15-Jul-09 23:32:35

Sorry meant hmc not hatwoman

TheFallenMadonna Wed 15-Jul-09 23:33:02

Yikes at the extra 'really' blush

TheFallenMadonna Wed 15-Jul-09 23:34:14

Oh God - the whole post makes no sense. I'm telling you, a first means nothing...

Molesworth Wed 15-Jul-09 23:38:37

TFM, that's my approach to study to a tee blush

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