A very different place

Attending face-to-face tutorials gave Sarah Jones the confidence to consider a change of direction

Hello all. As a student in my third full-time year, I thought I would share a few thoughts on how I have found being an OU student. I started as an OU student in 2017 with the aim of becoming a part-time primary teacher. The only thing I wanted to do was teach, nothing more, nothing less.


For a while I was perfectly happy to sit behind my computer and not speak to anyone. I was happy to correspond with my tutor over email and to attend tutorials online; this was the perfect set up for me. I had even signed up online without speaking to anyone. I did receive a few phone calls making sure that I knew what I was doing signing up to 120 credits and giving me information about what to do as a disabled student – phone calls that I found invaluable.

As time went by I realised that it would be good to meet some students and signed up to face-to-face tutorials. I loved them, the real-time interaction with other students and my tutor made me feel like I wasn’t alone. It gave me the confidence to arrange a phone call with my tutor when I had a significant panic over my first TMA. That relationship that started right at the beginning of my course helped to bring me out of my shell and helped me see a world out there that was bigger than just me and a computer.

I nosed around the website and forums and found the Students Association. My being nosey has proved to be the key that has kept me going throughout my studies. The support that I have received from getting to know my fellow students in a relaxed place has added so much to my studies and has given me a taste of what university life can be, without which I would not be looking in the direction I am looking at.

My studies have led me to realise that I don’t want to be a classroom teacher any longer. I want to dream bigger. I want to see what I can do to make life better for students with special educational needs and for those who are educating them. I want to be part of helping to set good policy that works. Without support from my tutors and my fellow students, I would not be in that position now.

I am currently looking at the last few months of my undergrad degree with great optimism for the future, grateful for the doors that have opened and the challenges that I have faced and conquered, knowing that without the OU I would be in a very different place now.

Posted on behalf of Sarah Jones, OU Students Association President.

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