Tuesday, 19 July 2011

College...Week 10

I began the week with the official handing in of my UCAS application. This was a momentous occasion indeed for someone still desperately trying to get to grips with the concept of further education, let alone higher education.

Counselling was the usual miserable experience that no amount of Prozac could assist me through. It was my turn to act out the client role, and for 30 arduous minutes I had to play the part of a 55-year-old woman with a desperately depressing life.

After the very welcome mid-morning break, I was much happier just sitting making notes as an observer during the second audio taped session. The afternoon consisted of being informed of exactly how much work will be involved in the three delightful assignments that will follow the course. It’s just as well that I have no plans for Christmas this year, as it looks very likely that I’ll be working on my transcriptions and reading up on empathy.

There comes a point at college, for all women of child-bearing age, when certain items need to be purchased from a dispenser situated within a ladies lavatory. Several of my classmates had previously commented on the lack of such a provision in the F Block toilets, so I took it upon myself to check out a few other bathrooms on campus.

I soon discovered that F Block was far from unique, and not a single such dispenser existed. …..I also noted the lack of condom dispensers, although one might assume there’d be a greater demand, or necessity, for the former rather than the latter.

I made a few enquiries into the matter, and was astonished to discover that they’d been removed after repeated bouts of vandalism. Surely one would have to have some seriously 'faulty wiring' to want to duff up a tampon machine?

During I.T. I managed to print out much-needed additional data for my study skills group project. The tutor then, very kindly, showed those of us taking sociology, how best to create boxes on a questionnaire. This is superb timing, as I’m currently constructing a social survey, which will look far more professional for having boxes added.

Numeracy was another heavy-going week as far as I was concerned. I just about managed to stay with the concept of power numbers for the first 20 minutes, but then an information overload rendered me completely incapable of even locating the square root button on my scientific calculator.

For the life of me, I can’t fathom how power numbers, root numbers, square roots and so forth will help me to live a fuller and more exciting life. Will it help me to save money at Tescos? Will it make me a better mother to my children? Will it help me to work out which bus I need to catch? I have a sneaking suspicion the answers will be that they will, in fact, not.

There was time at the end of the lesson to finish correcting previously marked work, which I obviously took advantage of, and I was delighted to find myself currently up-to-date with all my numeracy worksheets, and even more delighted to receive a shiny sticky red star for my efforts. I simply couldn’t contain my glee at this important achievement and merrily showed my sparkly symbol off to my long-suffering friends. I acknowledge that I’m easily pleased.

My study skills session was extraordinarily fruitful this week, in that I actually managed to get something written down onto a sheet of paper. It’ll probably make no sense at all when I read it back at a later date, but at least I didn’t wander around aimlessly this week. This is positive progress indeed.

Writing skills, for me, has been highly frustrating lately. It’s yet another test of my abilities, when I’m feeling tired after a long day in noisy classrooms.

I feel that I’d proved my abilities in this area during the planning period way back in January, where I obtained three level 3 credits… one of which was for my academic writing skills.

I feel that I’d also proved my abilities in this subject with my level 3 credit for prĂ©cis. And I feel that I’d also proved my abilities in this area with the level 3 credit that I received for my sociology essay.

I passed my National Certificate in Adult Literacy in July with a score of 39 out of 40 …only a moment of insanity with a spelling question prevented me from obtaining 100%... and I have the paperwork to prove it. 

I’m a woman, a mother, and a lone parent, and within these roles I constantly have to prove my abilities to somebody or other. I therefore find it highly irritating that I am expected to constantly prove myself during writing skills, when I’ve already shown significant evidence of my abilities.

Far from an accurate test of my abilities, these last three weeks have simply tested my patience. This, incidentally, has completely run out. During the planning period we were told, on more than one occasion, that Access students never have to sit exams, unless they’re taking a GCSE subject. I beg to differ!

Thursday I was back into the calm and reassuring realm of sociology. Families and households has become this weeks 'comfort blanket', and previous tantrums made way for highly entertaining and enlightening discussions regarding sperm donors, pregnant men, cloning and the contraceptive pill.

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