Laid Back in the Halls

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The spring term has just come to its conclusion with the time to pause and catch breath. The past week has seen some phenomenally nice weather; although this does seem to be the norm when coursework deadlines start to arrive. Fortunately, it promises to hang around for the next couple of days and thus will provide an appropriate setting to relax in. The exodus from campus for the Easter break has meant the atmosphere is halls is similarly laid back with a few mostly international, medical or mature students left to hold the fort. Despite the bare statistic of a four week break, sufficient work has been allocated for the most part. There are at least three pieces of coursework outstanding and a fair bit of background reading to do. So if the weather holds, then it should make a chilled working environment.

So what have learned so far? I’ve heard it said that you learn a lot about yourself at University. This is true for me on many different levels. Arriving in October, I was nursing two on-going sports related injures. People at work used to tell me that aches and pains start occurring about this age and I suspect it is a culmination of all the abuse that the body gets put through over time. Fortunately, Dr James of the University Medical Centre has extensive knowledge diagnosing sports injuries and the physio Selina have been very helpful. They were able to treat on the shoulder and refer me to a specialist to resolve the issues with my feet, which were found to be less than ideal for running on – but not bad going since I’ve done two half-marathons and was in the habit of running 10k at least twice a week for the two years. Anyhow, It has involved me being very patient in holding off from the running and swimming, but hopefully I can back into those activities full throttle in the next academic year.

Next up, I was recently assessed for learning differences and found to be dyslexic. We tend to assume that as people have increasing intellectual capability, that all abilities will rise in a relatively uniform manner with perhaps some slight variation. In the case of a person with a learning difference, they will be excessively bright in some areas and relatively weak in others: the variance of those abilities is outside the statistical norm. Reading and writing at sufficient speed for University education is not uncommon. For example, I take a longer time than most to ingest a technical specification for a software project, but once the idea has been conveyed, I will work at double quick pace when it comes to the implementation of it.

This isn’t really any great surprise to me or most of my former work colleagues. In fact, it was one my main reasons for returning to education at University level and to improve my ability with regards to write ups and the like. Fortunately, the people at the Learning Differences Centre (LDC) at the University are very friendly and have expertise in developing learning strategies around the various strengths and weaknesses that a person may have. This may well mean the difference between a 2:1 and a 1st, but also will involve extra work on my part to show what I can do, but no issue: I felt this was the case before I arrived and anything I pick up here will be of use when put back into the professional arena.

Finally, Semester 1 results got returned to us just over a month ago and I have come to considered view of them. After the exams, I felt I would be coming back in the summer for one, if not two, of the modules as some of the exams did not seem to go well. As it turns out, I achieved a first (70%+) on four of the modules and only missed out on that grade for the remaining one. So a decent set of results all round. Considering my background and the approach taken during last semester, this is probably as expected. However, all these results have to be taken with a pinch of salt as a lot of it was old ground for me personally.

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