The New Academic Year

This Saturday marks the first day of my last course. I can’t believe that I started working on this degree back in September 2005 and now, just four years later it is almost over. I haven’t exactly done a wide variety of courses, it is after all a degree in Literature, but along the way I have met a vast number of different tutor types, from the incredibly helpful to the total moronic numb-nuts who I could happily bash around the head with a crowbar (yes, SLOB, this is about you).

Saturday I start the new EA300 course, a course introduced by the Open University just this year (I am part of the first intake), a course all about Children’s Literature, covering a number of authors from Beatrix Potter and Louisa M Alcott to JK Rowling and Phillip Pullman. I am looking forward to this course, but I was looking forward to A215 and look where that anticipation got me.

As EA300 starts, AA306 is coming to a quick end. On 12th October I will be sitting in a (hopefully not stuffy) town hall with an exam paper all about Shakespeare. To say that my performance on this course has shocked me would be an understatement of epic proportions. I have always struggled with analysis but I don’t let that inadequacy get to me, and struggle though, and it seems that the struggle is always worth it. I am not getting distinctions, or As, but I am happy with the B- equivalents that I keep on coming away with, they are a pleasant surprise and I love them. I work really hard on the assignments (though I do admit they are always very much a case of last minute thing), and though I am aware they are not worthy of being framed and exhibited in a museum, they are pieces of work I am proud of.

EA300 is my last course, and with the first assignment all about Harry Potter I feel as though it could have been designed for me (until of course they start discussing the psychology behind the creation of literature for children and its purpose – then I start to panic).

They will be looking at a number of books I have never read, nor heard of (some are new and others have an incredibly long history, The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Little Women being just two examples).

I appreciate that they can’t cover everything, and do need to cover many aspects of the arena of children’s literature, but it is with trepidation I approach a book called Junk which, according to the blurb, is about young love, running away from home, and an addiction to heroin. It’s a disturbing topic and part of me wonders how something so dark and mired in chronic depression can be considered Children’s Literature – of course I am sure I will soon find out.

Roll on the last year, I await you with anticipation…now I can really start the countdown to the end of my degree and the moment I can stand up at the graduation ceremony and, holding a certificate in my hands, grin smugly at my mum and say “see, told you so!” (my mother unfortunately is not the most supportive of parents, and since I said I was starting this course she has shown little to no interest, going as far as to tell me that “I don’t want to hear about it until you’re about to get the certificate and have officially passed the course”). To say that her comments hurt, when she focused so intently on my sister’s long-since abandoned foray into academia, is an understatement, but knowing that it is so close now (9 months) I can taste it makes me realise that I am doing this FOR ME.

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