sue austinOver the last couple of months, I have struggled with balancing work, study and home life, at times while I have been poorly and my son has been poorly I have wondered if I made the right choice to take on so much?

I remind myself it was the best choice for our long-term plans for the future, but that doesn’t make it any easier to cope with!

Today I am once again at home looking after my son who is still poorly, he has fallen asleep so I decided to go back to for motivation and as usual I found something inspiring that I just had to share.

This lady is amazing and makes me feel empowered to get a grip! get on with my juggling act and hopefully make a little progress.

I am going to accept that I may not be able to do it all but at least I can give it my best shot!

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Formative Assessment

Today was the day we had to hand in our first official assignment, very stressful indeed.

I’m glad I managed to submit something, albeit a work in progress, it takes a bit of pressure off.  Mountain I feel like I’ve started climbing the mountain at last!

And for the record, Tutorials with your Teacher provide useful feedback and help with the questions you have been struggling to answer on your own, I can see why we need them after today.

Strange as it is, I can see the January deadline in a whole new light, I’m beginning to believe I actually did the right thing signing up to do this course!

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I am struggling to get motivated, so I am reviewing the C.R.E.A.M strategy to see if it can help me overcome today’s hurdle.

C.R.E.A.M stands for :-

Creative, Reflective, Effective, Active, Motivated.

When you focus on improving each element of this strategy, any adjustments  should have a positive impact on your abilities overall.

(Stella Cottrell,The study skills handbook second edition. Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)

“Do something rather than nothing” is the title of a paragraph in Nigel Warburton’s book The Basics of Essay Writing , published by Routledge (2007).  I have to agree, with him.  I am reminded that when I read this book, I felt I could take on my assignments , in small chunks at a time and having looked for inspiration, I now find myself ready to give it another go.

Today I have focussed on Motivation and it appears that simply picking up this book again is enough to make me realise that enough people must struggle with this kind of academic writing for there to be a book about it.  I can take solace in that fact alone!

I’m going to make sure I read the relevant passages or even post them on my notice board to stimulate the same feelings, again next time I’m feeling stuck.


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Learning Objectives

Set myself some targets for time management.

Set up a schedule for attending college & study time, work, domestic duties, social life and family time.

Devise an action plan of things I could do to become more organised at home, which would  give me more time in other areas.


Make a list of deadlines and amount of take to complete each task.

Undertake tests on the study4skills section of the student intranet, and post results on my blog.

Spend 2 hours at a time researching a topic and then transfer the information found, into the relevant assignment. Measuring the time I spend on a topic will hopefully stop me from becoming overwhelmed.

Work on each assignment one task at a time until I have answered each question.

Evaluate the answer to each question and consider an alternative position, critically review this alternative and summarise.

Ensure all research is referenced and put in the bibliography.

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Blog Evaluation

Well I have looked at other blogs, as this is a new area for me, I have found that there are so many interesting topics out there that people Blog about.

When I compare the basic elements contained within my blog to those of a long term blogger I think my blog has all the basics.

I have used my blog as a way of sharing my thoughts and ideas and to solidify my reflective process, it has been a useful experience.  As a result, I now feel confident to produce a reflective statement, using the Gibbs Reflective Cycle as the model for my work on a particular problem or issue.

I created a questionnaire about my blog and the feedback I received was fairly positive.  The posts on my blog have recieved unprompted feedback from the general public, as well as from colleagues, and I have posted feedback from my tutors, therefore if this was just for general or personal use it would have acheived its purpose.

There are blogs out there which are used for academic purposes some of which I now follow have a similar content, regarding insight into personal experience and its good to see that I am not alone in feeling misguided sometimes.

I fully intend to continue using this blog to reflect on my learning journey as it has become a useful tool.  A good place to store and record information so that I may return at a later date and reflect on how my perspective has changed or evolved as I grow as a student.

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Research material – Journals

It has been suggested that we utilise Journals as part of our research when completing assignments and I have to admit I found this element quite difficult to navigate.

As with anything perseverance is the key to success and finally I managed to find some useful articles on Emerald and an RSS which I have also posted on this blog.

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Study Skills

My perplexing issue this week was how to structure my assignments, so I installed myself in the Library and I found a book which seems really helpful.

I did in fact look at several books on the subject and settled on The Basics of Essay Writing by Nigel Warburton , Routledge, 2007.

Chapter 3 is all about the worst mistake you can make and the descriptive words section are brilliant!

I just need to find a book that tells me how to layout my essay when it has multiple questions to answer!  Perplexing question number two; should I do an introduction, evidence and conclusion for each question?  The mind boggles!

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Personal Development Plan

  • Where you were

Very little confidence, lots of anxiety, although motivated and enthusiastic.

Always promised the earth by employers who take advantage of my generous nature but never fulfilled.

  • Where you are now

Slightly more insight as to what my abilities are – a little calmer about the whole learning process.

Working, whilst studying and being a fulltime single parent, I’m sure these things are meant to be done one at a time?

  •  Where you want to go from here

Become confident with sound academic abilities, which lead to better business related opportunities.

I want to be able to succeed on my own, I would like to be given an opportunity based on my academic achievements, backed up by years of work experience.

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First Student Rep Meeting

Our class have raised several issues / concerns to Stephen Hardy following several weeks of confusion resulting from the merging of our class with the Computer Degree Class for PDP.

Having sent a list of the students concerns to Stephen Hardy our class Tutor/ Teacher Representative, we met with him, Michael and Sally Mudge.

Kate, Steven D and myself, responded with concerns raised by our class within each topic and a copy of the minutes will be available on the next post once they have been agreed by all attendees.

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