I have been thinking over the past few days about this topic. I have done my first year at University and then decided to quit in my second year. Mainly because I did not like or enjoy my course and it was not challenging enough for me. Photography….who needs a degree? You get a job by your own talent, not a piece of paper. However since I have quit I have wanted to take my academics further and do a course at home with an open university or by distance learning. I do not want to go back into a University atmosphere, mainly because I have my family and I like being at home with them all of the time.
My first year of University was pretty standard, according to others that I know. Partying, hangovers, greasy spoons, vomming and more parties? Yes that was my first year. Work? Hardly. I know that you could say it is all fun and games, which yes it is but if you want to do something for the rest of your life that you are passionate about it isn’t all fun and games. Will power plays a big part in your University life, which I hardly have any of if I’m brutally honest.
I hardly did any work in my first year, I was either too hungover or could not be bothered to start my work. I always ended up completing it last minute, which thus for means I was not at my full potential. You would think that because I want to do photography for my career and as my passion I would have been more bothered about getting work done well and at a good level to match my skill….did i?….. no. I spent most of my days in bed, moping about the house with a raging hangover from the many a drinks the night before, smelling of booze and breathing a mixture of liquors and whatever I had stomached that day. Not very attractive I will admit and it did not do my work any good. The day before my assignments where due in I would work all through the night to get them done, meaning I was tired the next day, thus skipping important lectures I was meant to be in. Going out and taking photographs with a killer headache was no pretty picture either. This meant that I did not focus on the beauty of my subject matter and the task showing a lack of skills and potential. If you have the mentality that you are going to do your work before you go to university and you will stick it out with deadlines met and a decent standard of work you are sadly mistaken. The lure of music, cheap alcohol and friends will steal your academic mind set and turn it to mush in the blender they call happiness. On the other hand there are many a people who do well juggling both parties and work. I applaud those people! They have a lot of determination and skill. They are the ones who do well and still have a social life.
Home working, this is something that can be controversial. I know a lot of universities like to have group work included in the modules or at some point during the course, which a home based course wouldn’t. Does this mean you are potentially losing out on group interaction and social skills that may prepare you for your chosen future career? Studying at home can be very helpful for some people in difficult situations or just people who want to feel more comfortable with their work.
You get all the materials sent to you and you have online tutor help with emailing. This can come in very handy, it may be less personal than actually going to your tutor and talking to them face to face, however you may be able to get more into an email that you are less likely to say in person…good point. The only thing I really have a problem with home courses is that it is limited to what you can do as a course. They have a lot of different types of courses such as A level, Diploma, Degree etc but the subject matters are limited. I’m lucky I found an Art History course, the matter of the course really interests me and it is something that I did in my first year of University and when I attended the lectures (on the odd occasion) I really enjoyed it and it fascinated me. I also think that being in your own home studying has drawbacks as well as positives; these would be that you are in your own comfort zone, making it easy to get distracted. They give you an estimate time of study to do well and it is 32 hours a week, which means at least 4-6hours a day 7 days a week….and when you want to get out of doing work you can find many a things in the home to distract you. Another negative would be social interaction, as I know it is important for people to socialise with the same students who do the course, and studying at home can eliminate this.
So the reasons to and for going to university and staying at home to study in my book sway towards home study more because I have been in the university atmosphere. However, one or the other suits everyone (unless you want to work fulltime)so you have that choice and I think by having the choice you can maximise your potential either way.
Which would you choose? Has anyone done a home or uni course??….if so would you give advice or experience??