Academic common room
Open University full-time degree
binkybunny · 02/10/2018 11:23
I started an OU degree before having my first child but a combination of full time and work and morning sickness meant I haven’t gone past year 1.
I am about to start maternity leave and am looking forward to when I return to work, and whether I do return or actually study full time instead. I have been working in a school in an office based role and it has confirmed that I would love to work with children, but rather than teaching, which is what I was thinking of career changing to, I would rather take on a more pastoral role such as learning mentor, or potentially even Educational Psychologist so I am going to continue my studies in Psychology with a focus on childhood and youth.
So my questions are... has anyone studied full time with OU? How many hours realistically did you study per week full time. Was it 32 as they say or more or less? Did you find it lonely or are there groups that meet up and study together? Am I crazy in thinking about such a huge career change with 2 small children and at the age of 38 knowing that it could be a good 6 years if I go down the EP route? Is there anyone else out there studying psychology through the OU and can give any tips?
I have had a look online and it looks like I can get tuition and maintenance loans as well as a childcare grant so my eldest will be at primary and youngest can have a few days at nursery/ childminder so I would have time during the day then make up hours in an evening when DH is home.
MercedesDeMonteChristo · 04/10/2018 15:57
It's doable - do you have any support as this was key for me.
I studied part time (but 4 years instead of 3 so not that much longer) whilst working in a reasonably demanding job with 3 children who were all under the age of 6 when I started my BA and between 8-12 when I finished my MA. The key thing here was not my ability or dedication, though a certain amount of that is necessary but the support network that I had around me. I.E. a DH who was flexible (if not always supportive - though that has changed) and parents who were on hand to help out A LOT.
Weirdly, the BA when they were little was easier because GPs would come round and play/take them out and I would go to the library whereas for the MA I worked from home with them a lot more which meant using mostly evenings which was hard because that was also when my classes were etc. Plus they now don't go to bed until much later!
I would say if you have support, DC who go to bed easily and at a decent time and the flexibility for a weekend day studying when deadlines are looming then it should be fine.
purplepandas · 05/10/2018 18:40
I am coming to it from the other angle as I used to teach psychology for the OU as a tutor. I had a number of students in your situation but I would agree with mercedes about the support network. That really matters. My students did well and were very dedicated.
juneau · 05/10/2018 18:46
I'm a PT student with the OU and have two school-age DC. In all honesty, I couldn't imagine doing FT. I know a lot of people do manage it somehow, or they work PT and study PT too, but it would be so hard - particularly when you've got deadlines (which all fall at the same time for some reason), and it's the school holidays, or someone is ill, or some other crisis happens like a sick parent or a funeral far away. I can manage PT, because I have some time in hand that allows me to roll with it, but I think unless you're very organised and very dedicated you'd be better to do PT and not over-commit yourself, but I know some people NEED to get their qualification quickly or feel they can power through for a fixed amount of time. Only you know what you can cope with.
juneau · 05/10/2018 18:50
PS - I have little support so it's all on me. Parents are too far away to help much, and DH works FT out of the house and long hours. All the childcare is on me, there is no back-up, and that's why I can only manage PT.
binkybunny · 09/10/2018 13:52
Thank you for your above comments, sorry I didn't get notifications for them so thought no one had replied!
Juneau, I'll only get a maintenance loan if I do it full time so financially that would be the only way. Otherwise I'd have to work, study and be a mum which I think would be more stressful.
I have family within a mile or 2 of me and DH does bed, bath time etc anyway and is very supportive. My mum doesn't work and is nearby, not overly supportive with childcare but she'll do it if persuaded!
I'm feeling nervous but excited at the thought of this!
binkybunny · 09/10/2018 13:54
Purple, is the 32 hours a week realistic or did you find your students were doing more or less per week? I know with year 1 I really only did about 10 but realise it gets harder in year 2 and 3
MercedesDeMonteChristo · 09/10/2018 16:43
You get very good at being productive in short spurts, simply because you have to. It sounds like you have the network in place to make this work. Good luck.
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