I thought now might be the right time for me to write about what I’ve learnt after having been studying for one year via distance learning (DL). This type of learning was completely new to me in September and I have learnt a lot about myself along the way and through just one year.
Time really is everything: you may think that committing to doing a DL course will be easy. You hear yourself saying “Oh I’ll just fit a bit in each evening and at the weekend”. STOP. Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that, you need to make sure that you are going to be 100% dedicated to the course and see it through. Even if it’s only 30 minutes on a lunch break or 2 hours in an evening, you need to be committed.
Organisation is key: ensuring your organised is the key to success in my eyes. Keep a diary in which you can write key dates of assignments. Get folders ready for different modules and post-its will become your best friend. Useful for something you think you might forget later or just for having ready for revision.
Allocation of time: It’s all well and good thinking you’ll be able to continue all those wonderful things you’ve been enjoying so much the past few years but you need to be realistic. Can these really be carried on? Is something going to have to give? Now I don’t mean you have to give up everything but just consider for the time being, whether its a 1 year or 2 year course, if you can manage to give up those things just for now then that will help you a lot!
It’s okay to struggle: There will be times when you think to yourself that the course is hard and you might consider giving up, but this is natural and has happened to me a few times when I’ve done assignments which were hard and I never thought I could complete but have turned out to be my best assignment yet.
Work V Study: Some people may tell you that the course works better if you study it full time for a year and then go on to apply to professional roles but whilst this may work for some, I certainly believe that studying whilst working has so many benefits. I am constantly finding that I am able to relate what I learn on the course to work and vice versa.
Whichever way you decide to study these are just a few of my thoughts of how I found my first year of studying a distance learning course.
The last couple of months have been very busy. I’ve now started back on my MA for my second semester. It has been very intense so far, and we’ve packed a lot into 7 weeks. Next week is our last week before we have 4 weeks “off” for Easter. Although this won’t feel like time off as I’ll still be at work and having to move onto my next assignment. We’ve got to write a Critical Literature Review for our Leadership module. I’ve really enjoyed this module and learning about different ways of managing and leading people. The assignment is going to test me as it’s not something I’ve done before but I am up to the challenge.
I am now 8 weeks into my new job and it’s great! I am now learning how to catalogue and this is something which I have been wanting to learn ever since I started working in libraries. Unfortunately it is something we don’t touch on in my MA so it is the perfect time for me to learn it, and on the job is so much better as I can put what I am learning into practice and gain more experience. By working at the University Library there will be more opportunity for me to expand and gain more experience and see how different things work.
This month I also plucked up the courage to apply for my first bursary. It’s a bursary to attend the CILIP conference in Manchester in July. I would not normally think of applying or doing anything like this but I decided it was time to push myself out of my comfort zone in order to try and gain more knowledge and confidence to go further. If I got the chance to attend it would be great to hear the Librarian of Congress speak!
It has now been nearly a year since I started pursuing a career in the Library and Information Professional world. Without it sounding very cliche, it has honestly been the best year of my life. I have experienced things that I only ever dreamed of and I have opened my eyes to a world of opportunities.
I still find it hard to believe that a year ago I was still making coffee and cooking hot food in a cafe, and now, one year later I am about to move on to my third job in my library career and I am going to be starting my second term on my LISM Master’s degree. The last year has taught me a lot about both myself and my career. I have learned that if I am focused, I can and will achieve. I have also learnt, that every little piece of experience I have goes towards something, and that it will all pay off in the end.
I am looking forward to moving on and having 1 full time job for at least 9 months and to be continuing to learn and grow as a person as I progress in my career and in my MA.
I have now come to the end of Semester One of my distance learning masters. It has not been an easy ride but I am pleased that I have made it through. It has been a lot of hard work, with working full time and then doing uni work in the evening. Alongside job applications and changing jobs. But I am certain it will all be worth it.
The first term has seen me “attending” virtual lectures with my fellow distance learning cohort as well as working on a group power point from a distance. Something I had never thought I’d be able to do but it worked out very well and we were all very pleased with our grade. I am very pleased that I have managed to get through the term without any late night study sessions or having to cancel plans.
I am looking forward to my next term where I will be undertaking the modules, Leadership, Strategy and Change as well as, Academic and Workplace Libraries. The later being an optional module that I am very much looking forward to getting my teeth into, as I currently work in the Academic sector and it is somewhere that I see myself progressing in.
I am looking forward to the Leadership module as it is an area which I would like to gain more experience and to build on my own personal development of leading people and teams. I will keep the blog updated on how the next term pans out.