I’m a student on the Occupational Psychology MSc. Except that I’m not here. In Leicester, that is.
That’s because I’m studying the course by distance learning, even though I only live 40 minutes away in Derby. The reason for me being a distance learner is that I work full-time, so unfortunately, as much as I’d like to be here it’s not physically possible.
I suppose that I’m also, well, older than most people’s idea of a student. (I was going to say more mature rather than older, but my family and friends might take issue with that statement!) I graduated for the first time in the mid-1980s, when groups like Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Dire Straits and Wham! ruled the charts, there were only four channels on television and almost no-one would have dreamed of admitting that they quite liked ballroom dancing. I studied Computer Science in the 1980s. I know of no computer scientist from that time of my life who can dance. It’s not what we were trained to do!
Having one degree is usually enough for most people. However, I got sucked back into the world of studying a few years ago and took my second degree, in Psychology, with the Open University. I enjoyed the experience so much that I’ve been itching to take it further, so here I am. Or rather, here I’m not.
So given that I don’t fit the stereotypical student profile, doesn’t it mean that I’m simply an imposter? I admit that the thought has crossed my mind on more than one occasion in the last few days.
When I studied with the OU, the one thing that was guaranteed to make me realise that distance learning is every bit as real and just as exacting as studying within the university walls was getting my first assignment returned. For me, that moment is imminent.
I know that at that instant, I won’t feel like an imposter any more.