A thousand salutes to Lieutenant Leo Gradwell!

September 3, 2014

Lt Leo Gradwell

Lt Leo Gradwell

‘Are you happy in the Navy?’, this was the signal passed to a neighbouring vessel by Lt Leo Joseph Gradwell during a German air raid. An Oxbridge barrister, adept in six languages, he was not quite the man one would imagine fighting the best German warships with only a yacht sailing certificate. Captain of one of the British merchant ships of the ‘scattered’ PQ17 convoy, he had a Times Handy Atlas to stay alive after being ordered to disperse at the lurking threat of the the Nazi warship Tirpitz. PQ17: well, it’s obviously an intriguing code name though quite a historic one.  PQ17 was the code named convoy containing British and American ammunition, weapons and aid that were sent to the Russians  to prevent the unstoppable Germans from capturing Moscow; crossing the hell rough Arctic ocean. Dating back to the venerable Second War, PQ17 Arctic Convoy Disaster has been tagged one of the most infamous naval disasters in the history of warfare. This may seem to have no connection to that of an 18-year old prat’s life. Self-confessedly, even I would have been in the dark about PQ17,  like most other people, had I not stumbled upon the documentary broadcast on the BBC, presented by the legendary, albeit controversial, Jeremy Clarkson.

Time to draw the connection.

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First year exam results

August 18, 2014

Fortunately for me, I managed to pass all my year 1 subjects for the BSc Economics and Management. Honestly, I am just relieved that I don’t have to repeat year 1.

I was very worried that I had to repeat year 1 because I knew I made some severe mistakes in my exams. The thought of repeating year 1 really wrecked me. Thus, when I found out that I passed, I was definitely very happy.

Some of my university mates are unhappy with their average results. However, even though my results were very average, I am not unhappy or discouraged.

If anything, I feel motivated and pumped up for year 2.

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To the future!

August 15, 2014

This happens to be the final page of my travel(b)logue, which is what I referred to my blogs as in my first post… On completion of my study, I set off for some adventure-packed fun. Launching myself off the platform and flying down the zipline was somewhat like my study experience over the past four years – a journey, from bracing myself to embracing the world!

Hema Thakur ziplining

So here’s to the ‘long and short’ of my trip with the programmes (spellcheck hasn’t got used to this word yet). I’ve expanded the word ‘trip’ itself, to incorporate some of the most important lessons I’ve learnt from it.

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Exam results are released for the BA English

July 15, 2014

Quote: You don't want to look back and know you could've done better.Grades were released for the BA English last week. As you can imagine, the event generated some excitement in our student chat areas. For yours truly, it is an enormous relief to have the marks and know where I stand, so to speak. For me, this was a challenging year with greater work and study responsibilities than ever before. Revising for exams was a worrying time, managing professional projects and trying to have some kind of personal balance. This year, like other years, the link to grades arrived in my inbox just at the time I settled my thoughts about each course and started thinking realistically about the exam. I like that process because self-assessment is an important part of our study skills in distance learning, and because it is an excellent validation of some complex thoughts and feelings.

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June 15, 2014


Waiting is a challenging thing to do, as I am sure it is for all of us, especially when it is waiting for information we really want. To while away the hours, as the examiners are working hard reading essays and writing reports, Jelly Bean and I have embarked on a furniture rearranging strategy that touches every room in the house, and even reaches to outdoor living areas. For me, it is absolutely wonderful. Jelly Bean is a little more cautious about the process and the outcomes, just like me in exams. She keeps a careful eye on her toy box and favourite blankets while the rearranging is in progress.

This is the first summer in a long time that I do not have a course to prepare for the next semester. Not having to read for a new course leaves a lot of free time. Having so much free time makes the wait for results seem even longer. I have several great things planned for this summer, but the real sense of anticipation comes from wanting to get on with my next academic step. It is hard to think about anything else.

By all means rearrange the furniture, you know how that thrills me.Today, while shoving and tugging furniture from one room to another, I tried to think carefully and realistically about my results. I am anxious for the results not just because they show the effectiveness of my efforts, but because they will help me plan my next academic and professional steps. The need to delay making or executing a plan is quite frustrating to a Myers Briggs ETNJ like me. The furniture rearranging, along with several writing workshops, helps redirect my planning needs and tendencies, but I still cannot wait to apply to my next program.

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My Exam Experience

May 28, 2014

Socrates quote: Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.

The more I studied, the more I realised I loved learning.

To be honest, before the exams, I was very worried. I felt unprepared but at the same time, I knew that if I was given as much time as I needed, I probably still feel unprepared.

This was as prepared as I can get.

I was scared because I was afraid that I would fail and failing means that I would have to repeat the year. The thought of repeating the year frustrated me. Doing this all over again felt overwhelming and because of that, I nearly had a meltdown.

However, as the exams came closer, the more I revised, the more I felt like the subject and I clicked.

It’s like a sudden clarity. 
Suddenly, I can see it in a new light. 
Suddenly, it all makes sense now.
I wouldn’t say that I completely understood it but I could see what it was trying to say now.

It’s odd. I spent my entire year learning and constantly revising, only managing to understand parts of this knowledge. But as the exams came closer, all these parts suddenly merged and now, I understood better.

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And Now We Wait…. For Exam Results!

May 23, 2014

Woman lying on sofa

Recovering after exams!

Phew! It has been a three-week whirlwind of exams and work and not much else. Despite having back-to-back exams for my last two papers, I somehow did two all night study sessions and lived to tell the tale.  Although just a week has passed since my last exam, it feels like much, much longer.  Now we begin the wait for our results.  It has taken a few days to recover from the all night exam preps, a hectic work schedule, and the intensity of exam days.  Now that Jelly Bean and I have had some good long naps, a few hikes in the park and have caught up on professional projects, we have started putting our ‘Exams and Results’ folder in order.

My ‘Exams and Results’ folder is a handy file where I keep things that are helpful when grades and Examiners’ Reports become available a few weeks from now.  Things like my candidate number, the questions I attempted for each course, a summary of my answers and notes about how I wrote essays and structured arguments.  I also make notes about how I revised for each paper. Writing these notes makes resources like the Examiners’ Reports much more useful. It is also helpful for planning next term’s study strategy.

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