How to take Good Notes!


super-g“Law school is no joke.” That’s what a friend of mine said when we last talked about my study program. He wasn’t lying. He’s a professional athlete, a downhill skier. He inspired me to think of note-taking like one of his epic runs to the finish line on a Super-G (super giant slalom) course – a combination of precision, technical expertise, and speed.

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Journey update: reacquainted with myself


Baby booties and a book

Two sides to one story

When I wrote my first post I told you that my main concern as a studying mum was making space in my brain for knowledge when the ups and downs with The Little One were barely leaving any space available in said brain. After more than a month of daily study I think it is about time to make an evaluation.

In the past few weeks The Little One was going through the “adaptation period” at daycare. She had to get used to new people, new food, new patterns, new rules… And it was a lot to take. Interestingly, this adaptation period is also designed to help parents in coping with the difficult feelings of leaving their progeny in the care of someone unrelated to the family circle. My mind wandered off easily and I asked myself repeatedly if she would hate me for “abandoning” her like that.

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The key to self-studying for a degree


the-harder-the-battle-the-sweeter-the-victoryNobody said that it is going to be easy. Anyone who grows up in a traditional education system would have the idea of pedagogy that naturally conjures up the picture of a classroom of students and a teacher. Nobody said that to acquire a degree through self-studying, without guidance, is going to be smooth sailing. However, no one has said that it is an impossible task either.

I believe that most of us in the UOL long distance program shoulder the same responsibilities: work, family and studies. As if to juggle these is not challenging enough, some of us have also taken the degree course without any additional help: we study without attending any local teaching institutions. A daunting task it is, but, we must not forget the one big perk that is attached to it – flexibility.

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How distance learning has helped me personally and professionally


Woman studying by distance learningLet’s really explore distance learning this week.  To my surprise, this is a topic I find myself discussing quite a bit. Every day I find myself in conversations like: “What is distance learning really like? How do we implement it? What kind of results can we expect to see? What kind of measurements are best applied to our particular distance learning program?” I talk about it at work, in social settings, during board meetings and in job interviews.  Keep in mind that I do not work in education at all, not even remotely. (No pun intended)  Distance Learning is now that important.

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The Beginning of a Journey: the Student Mum


Mulerthal, Luxembourg

Mulerthal, Luxembourg

Five years ago, if someone had told me that I was going to live in Luxembourg and raise a baby girl while studying English with the UoL International Programmes, I probably would have laughed. Yet here I am: a Spaniard based in Luxembourg studying English and, yes, raising a baby at the same time (six months now and going strong!).

The truth is I studied to become a teacher back in Spain. I got my teaching degree there but life brought me to this little country and, after a while, I decided to enroll in the International Programmes to widen my knowledge in English. Continue reading

Rekindle that Flame


Cartoon of person readingLast month, I talked about the importance of taking a break; the benefits of my temporal relief of a knotty problem encountered in any aspects of life, including studying. No matter how pressing a matter might seem to be at a moment, it always does me immense good when I pry myself away, so that I can return to it rejuvenated and ready to tackle it afresh.

So, what is the next stage following the “chilling” method? How did I get myself warmed up to the tons of reading that have piled up since the day I signed up for the modules of the next academic year?

I call this next stage the “thawing” method. It is when I immerse my mind in a semi-ready mode, or when I do not want to be switched off completely, while preparing myself to return to serious studying.

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Difficulty in maintaining beneficial study habits…


Good day my fellow colleagues!

My apologies for not writing for some time. It’s been quite busy at work.

I trust that everyone was satisfied with their exam results. If you weren’t, I urge you to apply my motto:

“There are two things you can do with an exam, you can either pass or fail, and if you fail, then simply re-write it!”

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Relief, joy and pride.


Michael SeaverSo that’s it. All done. A BSc in Politics and International Relations. When I saw my exam results this week my reactions were relief (because I felt a bit glass-half-empty after the exams in May), joy (at getting three results over 70%) and pride at the overall First Class Honours degree I was awarded.

I won’t use the cliche “journey” but lots of aspects of my life have changed since I started the degree. Unlike full-time students that get sucked into the bell-jar of academia and pupate into “real world” graduates four years later, those of us studying through the University of London International Programmes have to blend studies with our daily realities. My academic studies – like many other distance learning students – was squeezed around the changing fortunes of one-and-a-half jobs, family commitments and curveballs like house moves.

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Tools of trade for independent learners


A student's tools of tradeIf you are an active learner, or even more – an independent learner, you should consider using the best tools you have at your disposal to make the study process effective and efficient. Identifying “the best” and most useful and suitable tools and techniques of active learning  will help to improve productivity dramatically, making the study process more enjoyable, and the learnt material more usable.

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Harnessing the hashtag – how this helped me devise my own method for preparing for exams


Since my last post about my trip to London last summer, a year has passed by with the jolly Indian winters filled with music and preparation for the upcoming May examinations which will be crucial for me.  A lot has happened in the world in the last four and a half months that is relevant to my studies, which I will write about in my next blog (hopefully really soon!).  Similarly to some of my co-bloggers, it was a Writingpersonal feeling that sharing some study techniques and addressing some study dilemmas may be of some assistance to me and may also help some of my fellow students.  Sitting for a 100 course module, Contemporary Sociology in a Global Age, two 200 course modules, International Organisations and Foreign Policy Analysis, and a 300 course module, Security in International Relations, has turned out to be quite a challenge. A syllabus spanning 48 chapters where every line counts, exhaustive readings and a lot of writing has been no docile pet to tame and will certainly not be one when I take two consecutive exams on the 11th and 12th of May.

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