Tag Archives: children

Friday

It was a day of two halves… Continue reading

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Perspectives of a Mature Student

Study leave. That dreaded time when the impending exams drawing ever so close invoke a cold sweat that trickles down your spine,  indicating your feeble attempts to grasp those last valuable nuggets of information to make exams less terrifying have failed. Well, at least that is how I used to feel as a teenager.

What has changed now that I am a mature student?

Firstly, that infernal ticking time bomb of a clock with its weedy little fingers wrapping around my pumping heart has not changed at all! My attitude to the fear has indeed lessened thanks to better preparation and less stressing out. One great thing about being older is that you learn not to sweat the smalls so much. I’m a great believer in things happening at the right time and our influence over circumstances, up to a certain extent. For example, taking the premise of my studies and how to approach historical objects, we observe, interpret and communicate what is there to be seen and the information gathered or already known about an object. If I take that same approach to my exam paper, I will observe the same, interpret the question and communicate my answer accordingly.

But, what about the examiner’s focus and personal opinion to my answers?

Will they agree or disagree with what I have said?

All I can do to ensure a positive outcome is to take on board their personal evaluations of the questions and their supplied feedback on what they wanted from us students, then deliver the same. The rest is left up to their interpretation of my answers and whether or not they agree or disagree with my communication of the same. In other words, don’t sweat the smalls.

Having a decent amount of knowledge on the subjects helps a great deal – something I should have figured out as a teen but didn’t! The purity of setting aside studying time has not developed over my many years on this earth and I still struggle to settle down to bury myself in books. Who wants to do that when the sun is shining and their are plants to pot? Or the house needs cleaning? Or…I could go on but I’m sure you get the gist of what I’m trying to say. I’m excellent at procrastinating. The time set aside for studies is depleting like sand in a timer. As it trickles away, I scramble to catch up with the chapters and retain what little information sticks to my gravelly old grey matter to help me pass these infernal exams.

How does it feel to study with your own children?

My final perspective on being a mature student is the competition between my sprogs and myself to do well. So far, I have attained a first for my first half of the first year. This second half has seen me progress towards a first with little wiggle room left to achieve it. I want to get it to prove to those little mites that anyone can do it – even an old frog like me! It gives them incentive to try harder and yes, I do enjoy being called a ‘nerd’ or a ‘swot’ which is totally different to when I was younger and these words weren’t as complimentary. Now, I revel in those names and try to push harder to keep them. That’s a big change and one that I value because that drive is needed to keep me going not only in my studies but in my writing too, especially when I’m exhausted.

In all, becoming a mature student has taught me to value family life and free time. My free time gives me opportunities to learn more about this world and open my mind to improving in my writing and learning skills. Of course, it completely changes the meaning of the word free time, but I think it’s open to interpretation. Watching my children struggle through their studies reminds me not to take things for granted. I am on my second wind and they are just starting out. This is very difficult and confusing at the best of times. I think I’ve learned not to push them as hard as I used to (I was a bit of a tiger mum!) and to understand that everyone learns in a different way. Look at me – I prefer pottering and them coming back to my studies every few hours with a fresh mind that has stewed on the ideas from before. It gives them time to take root and stick around for longer than five seconds. Looking at the sprogs, they have different ways of understanding what they learn too and it gives me a chance to show them that it’s okay to be different and to study in their own way. As long as we all enjoy the process, it doesn’t feel like hard work and therefore produces better results.

 

Monday Coffee

Good morning! I know it’s a bit early for our normal coffee catch up. Since the sun has decided to come out for a brief spell this morning, I thought you might like to come on a dog walk with me.

This is my usual morning walk which takes place before the school run and work. On some days it’s a mad rush to get it done, but on days like today, I prefer to take a leisurely stroll to enjoy the scenery surrounding us. This area was once the testing ground for cars and creating traffic junctions for bike use on the roads. There are still some markings left from its previous life. It does remind me of the set for the Walking Dead with the eerie stillness and silence apart from the birds and an occasional deer crashing through the forest.

Now, onto catching up – how was your weekend? Did you manage to tick off some of your items on your to-do list from last week? I managed to get my study plan organised this weekend and put more into my novel. There have been several chapters in the middle of the book that needed to be removed and replaced by a different voice. You can feel it when you read over the story – a steady drop in forward motion and a stagnant, stale narrative that will send readers away. So, with that in mind, I’ve been ruthless and culled the dead weight. Today, I’m going to focus on introducing more conflict for the main characters and a dead body might just float up to give them something to investigate! I love it!

As we follow the path and take the next right, we will find ourselves by the numerous ponds scattered across the undulating landscape. They have made every effort to ensure the new houses being built alongside this forest will not get flooded. After speaking to the park ranger who looks after this beautiful landscape, he told me that it could rain in biblical amounts and the terrain will take it thanks to good landscaping.

Now that we’ve reached our favourite pond, you’ll get to see Millie swimming like a duck. She loves the water and can’t keep out if the birds are going in! Her ability to fish for things whilst swimming is amazing. Henry never liked the water much and only came in to be with me or the kids. I’d like to think that if he were here with us now, Millie would have given him the courage and confidence to swim around the pond just as she does.

What’s the plan for this week? Well, on my side, as I’ve mentioned before, I have to get my writing and studying done before time runs away. I can’t believe it’s going to be half term already in a week’s time. Then it’s exams for me and the Blogger’s Bash to look forward to and finally, the run up to the summer holidays and the Summer Reading Challenge. The writing will continue as I have a few stories on hold while I finish off the main ones waiting to go to the publishers for their chance in the limelight. Fingers crossed all this hard work pays off and they like it – otherwise I will self-publish my work over the summer.

We are now heading back towards the path home. Thank you for joining me on my morning dog walk. If next week is as cold and rainy as this one promises to be, let’s meet up in the coffee house. We haven’t been there in a while and it will be nice to see the yellow sofa, red brick walls and bookshelves filled with all the books from my blogging buddies and writer friends.

Have a great week!

 

Life with Millie

Suffering the loss of a family pet might seem trivial to some, but for those who have shared their lives with a four legged friend, that loss can be devastating. Continue reading

Monday Coffee

Welcome to the bat cave in our new abode. It’s a little messy at the moment with a large plastic container holding our video tapes and cds filling the space between the single chairs. On the up side, my new blue sofa is just itching to be used, so let’s grab our cups of tea and coffee and give it a purpose. Continue reading

Serendipity

I often enjoy writing about fortuitous moments in life where everything aligns to create a happy happenstance. This week has been no different… Continue reading

Monday Coffee

Welcome to the new garden. The kettle is hot and I’ve put some chairs out for us to sit near the pond. Continue reading

Monday Coffee

Snuggle up and take a sip of your favourite beverage – it’s coffee time! Continue reading

Monday Coffee

Hi and welcome back to the coffee house. It’s going to be a quick one today but a welcome break from the busy schedule. Let me tell you why… Continue reading

Bona Fide

A child approached my desk at work today and asked a question:

“Did you compete in writing competitions

when you were our age, Mrs D?”

My curiosity as to why he would ask such a question was stalled by my need to flex my credentials, describing writing competitions I had won from a young age and my experience of writing poetry and stories throughout my youth. Watching his expression of surprise and then understanding, I went back to my original response and asked him, why?

He surprised me. He said, “Because we do a lot more writing competitions now, more than before. I thought that it was because of you!”

It took me a moment to think about this. I couldn’t deny the fact that I supported and campaigned for many writing opportunities within the school – it just didn’t occur to me that I was huge part of the influence – or, at least, the children thought so. Being a part of a wonderful literacy team that pushes for children to have these opportunities didn’t necessarily mean that I was the reason for change. Maybe it had always been there, but not so prevalent as we have it now with all the clubs and enrichment days.

One might say I’m over-thinking it, but this child’s answer touched a nerve. You see, I have been fighting a complex for many years. The stigma of who we are when our super-writing coats hang back in our caves while we go out into the real world to fill our coffers has confused me. Am I a writer pretending to be a librarian or am I a librarian pretending to be a writer? Can I call myself a writer if I have not produced a book in that last few years or can I call myself a true librarian working part-time?

All these questions float around and stew…and stew…and stew! The way I identify myself during introductions has changed too. When I first decided to become a fully-fledged writer, I shyly mumbled that I was a wannabe author. After my first book, my shoulders pressed back and I declared my author status to friends and acquaintances. Now that a few years have passed since my last novel, I’m back to being a Librarian – the title of author gathering dust at the back of my cave.

Drawing back to my earlier conversation with said pupil, it dawned on me that I am one in the same person. I am a writer, author, librarian, sad cow who hypothesizes over her silly titles when she has so little time as it is and mother! I’m influencing young minds to read and write and enjoy it.  I’m fulfilling all roles, titles, whatever-you-want-to-call-it and it’s okay. I don’t have to be one thing and not acknowledge the other. As long as I stay true to my profession: someone who shares in the experience of the written word, in whatever capacity, I am being true to who I really am. And that pleases me immensely. I am a bona fide writer/librarian!

It’s a trivial thing but something I wanted to share with you. Do you find certain roles/titles waylaid as you plough through life? What’s your take on this subject?