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I was wondering if anyone here hasn't taken the conventional academic route, i.e - a bricks and mortar university? I had the chance to go to university when I was 18 (I''m 21 now), but I'm glad I didn't because I didn't have the same passion for learning as I do now. Also, I had no idea what to study and I'm quite a traditionalist regarding education - I believe learning is its own reward and I don't think someone should embark on the journey unless they have a genuine passion for their chosen subject. I understand the illustrious student lifestyle that is often promoted to young peaople as a right of passage is part of the reason why some decide to seek higher education, but it has never appealed to me. I like my space, my peace and quiet and quite frankly, I'd much rather have a cup of tea than down a crate of cider (yes, I really am 21). Open University appeals to me on a number of levels:

1. It's cheaper - I don't want £15000 of student debt hanging like a millstone around my neck untill I'm 30.
2. I can work at my own pace - it looks very flexible because you can fit it around your life - not the other way around
3. It will show I'm self - motivated.

However, I worry that I'll be missing out on friendships, comparing and discussing my ideas with fellow students, not to mention the inevitable accusations of ''But is isn't a proper degree''. It's even more tricky because my yougner brother has just left to become a student and I know that vicious comparisons will be drawn - ''Well, she's just jealous because she didn't have the brains to go to a proper university, like her brother.''

Anyway - has anyone had any experience with distance learning? What were your thoughts?
 

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I was hoping there would be more replies.. I'm sure I came across a few here who were taking online courses, but forget where. I'd like to consider this option myself, as I'm in 'cocoon mode' but after researching some schools in Canada I've found that surprisingly whole programs (ie for undergraduate degree) are more expensive than traditional schooling! If not double the price, then near to.
 

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Thanks Linux for sharing this thread with me:smile:

Hi Guinevere!

I just wanted to let you know i saw this and i'll reply as soon as i get to a computer. I just spent the last 30min typing a response for you on my phone and it got deleted:rolling eyes: (it was definitely too long!lol) I'll try again as soon as i get to a computer.

Ciao!
 

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Hello Guinevere,

You sound very much like me, which is not surprising since you're a fellow IXFP.

Let me tell you my story. Stick with it because it is relevant:

In 2006 I went to a conventional university to study a four year Physics course. Being a creative SP and studying a science wasn't ideal - I chose the subject for the respectability instead of doing something I was passionate about. I got through my first year because I started fresh and the momentum from the new experiences pushed me along. I didn't really make a good friend - most of my housemates were extroverts (or tried to be) and I always felt when going out I was trying to be someone I was not. Meanwhile I found the subject utterly boring, and experienced my first moment of "what am I doing?" toward the end of the year, but shrugged it off.

At the beginning of the second year, I had decided I wanted to quit, but my F trait always has to consider the social implications before making a decision, so I never got round to it. My second year house was my least enjoyable domestic experience - I had an utterly indifferent relationship with my extroverted housemates. The only reason I got through that year was, well, because time goes on. I somehow got 70% for the year but was well down on my first year's result.

That summer I began dreaming that something would happen so I wouldn't have to go back, but a few months into my third year the course had become unbearable - I realised I would have to take ACTION. Finally I quit. I wouldn't have been able to do it unless spurred on by a phrase I had picked up from a Florence Scovel Shinn book: 'When in doubt, do the fearless thing.'

I endured some months of social embarrassment and a hard time from my father, but eventually found myself a part-time job, but most of all I felt a relief - I knew from that moment I did have the ability to do the things I wanted to do.

Shortly after starting my job, this was last year, I discovered the Open University. To my delight, I also noticed they offered credit transfer from unfinished degrees. Two of my years at my first uni wouldn't be a complete waste. I transferred my credits onto the Open Degree, which left me with just two eight month courses to get my BSc Hons Open. I've just finished the first in product design and really enjoyed it! And my last will be in another area of interest. Distance learning really suits me - instead of going to lectures at 8am in the morning and mindlessly copying down notes while not listening to a word, I could just read the text at a time that suited me and so ensure each time I studied I was taking something in.

Of course you may want to do a named degree with the Open Uni - that's your choice. You also have to consider that it will take six years versus three at a brick uni for a Bachelors degree, but you won't get into massive debt and you can spend the rest of your time on other aspects of yourself or earning money.

Let's address the prestige issue: Open University degrees are just as well respected if not more, since they show fantastic time management and persistence. Plus, graduate schemes and postgraduate degrees won't discriminate between an OU degree or one from a brick uni. A lot of them don't require a named subject degree either, so an Open degree will be sufficient. More and more younger people are studying with the OU, so it's respect will only grow.

Fellow students issue: I felt closer to my fellow students on my OU course than during my physics degree. There's a course forum where you can connect with each other, as well as optional group tutorials every month in each OU region.

Things you will be missing out on: Hugely subsidised sports and society oppurtunities; student bank accounts with interest free overdrafts (though you have to pay that back in the end anyway); a ton of superficial, hedonistic, sycophantic students. You may miss being with loads of people your own age, but I sense that won't be an issue for you. I'm with you on the alcohol thing - I tried to like the binge drinking from 18-20 but I never saw the occasional benefits outweighing the health issues and hangovers. I've hardly got drunk the last two years.

I'm 22 now, and one of the most important things I've learnt in my early twenties is exactly what you said:

I believe learning is its own reward and I don't think someone should embark on the journey unless they have a genuine passion for their chosen subject.
Sometimes, we feeling types have to disregard others in our decisions and think what's best for us.

The most loving remark my mother ever gave me was given when I came home having quit my first degree: "My only desire for you is that you do what makes you happy."

Finally, make sure you are absolutely SURE you know what you want to study before doing it, especially if you go down the brick uni route. Think very hard about this. If you think you can't stick at the same subject for an extended period, the Open programme with the OU might be for you. Anyway with the OU you can at any time change what degree any course you take or have taken counts towards - it's wonderfully flexible.

Sorry for the long response, and I hope it's still relevant a month after your question. :happy:

PS Minipigs rock!
 
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