Tag Archives: exams

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

Thanks for joining me at the virtual coffee house! It’s great to see you after such a long time. Grab your coffee and let’s get settled on the big yellow sofa in the corner near the fire. It’s chilly again tonight and the threat of rain is imminent, as always. Continue reading

Monday Coffee

Hello! I am so happy to see you back here in the coffee house. It is great to see the decor has changed: the new paintwork and art lifts the atmosphere as does the new furniture. Dibs on the bright pink patchwork sofa near the bookshelves housing our resident authors’ books. If you’ve ordered your beverage, why not join me on the sofa. Tonight, we have the singers from This Is Jinsy entertaining us.

The first two weeks of studying have passed swiftly and I am thoroughly enjoying it. My love of history is growing with every assignment and meeting the other students and my tutor have secured my confidence in the course. What have you been up to over the time I’ve been away? I have been trying to keep up with bloggers and authors, dipping in and out of their blog pages and FB. If I haven’t managed to visit you or say hi, please forgive me. You are definitely not forgotten – I will get to you as soon as I can.

With us sailing swiftly towards November, my Writer’s Club at school is brimming with excitement. We have spent the month of October preparing for our exciting new novels and I am happy to say we have new children attempting the great feat of writing their own stories over the next month. Many are now veterans and are so helpful in prompting the younger ones (my youngest member is 7!) and have such a mature attitude to the writing process. Many have won prizes over the past year through different competitions run by the Young Writers. The challenge this year is going to be to reach 5000 words which is a lot to ask for any junior child. I have great confidence in them all and wish them the best of luck. Unfortunately, this year I will not be competing as it will be too much with assignments, work and the clubs.  Don’t think I could push for more things to do. Plus, it will be my birthday month!

Are you planning on challenging yourself over the month of November? What genre story do you plan on writing? Does your mind stumble and you find yourself stuck with only one idea? Well, there have been so many good ideas floating around the net about how to write and Robyn Paterson has shared great formulas on crime fiction. The best advice I can offer, if you feel some trepidation, is to enjoy yourself. Pace yourself and try not to fall too far back on your word count each day. If you do, don’t worry. Find the time to make up the word count but don’t leave it to the last week or the last few days! Try to give yourself enough time to load your story and verify your word count at the end and hey presto – you’ll be a Nanowrimo champion!

Now, let’s sit back and enjoy the last song of the evening before we have to return to our normal lives. Thanks for joining me and I’ll catch up with you soon.


Monday Coffee

20170520_182708673_iOSIf I were to whisk you away,

far from the maddening crowd  of everyday

To a place where clouds drift on an easy breeze

And dandelion dandruff makes you sneeze;

If I were to whisk you away,

Far from here

Would you come with me? Would you, my dear?

To a place where dreams become reality

A restful place just for you and me.

I’ve packed a flask for us and included a container with different tea bags and coffee, just in case you fancy something different. Thank you for joining me out here on the hill right outside my front door. It’s the best time of the day: when the moon flashes her smile at the sun before he disappears to light up the other side of the world. Here, let me lay out a blanket for you and we can sit and watch the stars show their faces, one by one as the colour drains out of the sky.

It has been a busy week and weekend and I’m glad that I don’t work full time. I get to appreciate the days when I can sit and write, dreaming up places and events that mimic real life. Yesterday I took the family out on a walk in the woodland next door to us. It was the first time for all of us to explore the area together. Usually, I tend to disappear into the forest with the dog and return an hour or two later completely relaxed (it’s better than going to a spa!). They loved it and hated it at the same time. Bugs flew up their noses and into their eyes while the challenge of climbing a large tree with the remnants of a tree house let them forget their studies and stress for a while.

You see, I have three children writing different exams. One child has finished but the other two will be completing their exams over the next few weeks. The stress levels have been high; food has been a top priority as well as soft drinks. When they do emerge from their little caves to refuel, we try to make it as fun and relaxing as possible for them. The walk was my way of seeing all of my children at the same time and actually doing something fun for an hour before they disappeared back into their caves.

Now, I know I have a different personality to most people, but if I lead you up a rather dubious track, wouldn’t you follow me? With all the confidence in the world, I tried to convince my little sprogs to follow me down the hill into a thicker part of the forest filled with swamps and gorgeous little streams, but they refused! Oh, the shock! The Hubble started the recourse, heading for a well used track that made mine seem unkempt and dangerous. I was rather put out by this and felt the need to sulk a little. Seeing my upset, the littlest sprog offered to follow me into the swamp, against the advice of the other mutineers who I should have left stranded at the top of the hill. Lucky for them, my common sense prevailed and I led the little sprog down a safer path to the same destination I had planned all along. They followed suit, complaining again about the bugs and nature.

After taking copious amounts of photographs for my memories, I allowed them to escape back to civilisation and food. The Hubble fell back and waited with me while I took in the terrain, enjoying the peace of listening to the water and the birds try to synchronize their songs. I love this place. It is the epitome of serenity.

With a reluctant drag to my feet, I followed the sprogs home where household chores welcomed me with open arms, as usual.

What did you do this weekend?