In 2021 I sought to undertake a new challenge and in July 2021 resolved to study for a degree. Perusing the Open University’s website and the various degree options, for me the choice was between Creative writing or Psychology. After careful consideration, I signed up to undertake a BSc (Hons) Psychology degree to start in the October of that year. My highest level of previous academic achievement being an NVQ Level 3 fourteen years prior, I wondered what to expect and I eagerly anticipated the wait until 1 October. In the September of 2021, I received my module book and inside was a leaflet about the Students Association.
Later that evening I sat down at the computer and followed the link to the OU Students Association website. I browsed the various tabs and read about how the Association is a community “run by students, for students” therefore giving students a voice to impact the running of the University. Opportunities to attend online events and connect with volunteers, staff and other students were clear to find. During Fresher’s Week, I attended various online events and found them to be friendly and engaging. Having the opportunity to associate this way remotely was a great way to feel really part of a university community and instilled added enthusiasm into studying. The OU Students Association supports members in various ways and it is essential to have a voice in your student journey, so it was very positive to find out about the Association.
Studying remotely in your own time around other life commitments requires dedication as well as motivation. I found this was increased by engaging with the Association events and each one provided a tip or piece of advice from someone related to study, a recommended TV series and more. The Hoot is also great to read and keep up to date with various news and information. Prior to the January 2022 online Students Associations biennial Conference, I met with the For Campaign and wrote some pieces on the proposed reform resolutions. I also took part in the Freshers ‘Culture’ writing competition and won an OU sweatshirt for achieving third place. Recently I attended an online party for prize-winners and won an OU hoodie which I am looking forward to receiving as I have heard they are very comfy and cosy to wear.
My experiences with the OU Students Association have been positive, engaging and very friendly. It is fantastic to have representation for all students, there are possibilities to engage in clubs and societies with others and even volunteer. You can use the chat box to talk with others in online events if you prefer not to have the webcam and microphone on whilst still being involved and motivated to achieve what you resolved to when you signed up for your studies. I look forward to more years of study and university experiences ahead!