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It’s the obligatory graduation post! October 6, 2013

Posted by phoenixaeon in Degrees, Graduation, OU, Uncategorized.

So graduation day finally rolled around on Friday after a stressful couple of days preparation – making sure we all had smart clothes to wear, making sure everything was printed out that I’d need on the day, sorting out the train tickets, calling the train station to arrange for the ramp/assistance to get on the train, and generally just having panic attacks about public transport. After all, it was my first trip on a train since being in the wheelchair, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. Having said that, I’d do a train journey again. The people at both stations were fabulous, which made my fears about travelling disappear.

Arriving at Bridgewater Hall was so exciting! There were people milling around in their gowns, their proud friends and families strutting like peacocks behind them (Kirst and me graduationor looking like they were going to get up to some mischief). Getting into the hall, we careened through the tide of graduates towards the gowning area. Collecting my gown, I was ushered through to a lady who helped with robing and bobby-pinning the hood to the gown – and my hair! Youch! Mummy and Niamhie graduationBut my little Princi Munchkin was very proud of me, once I was all ceremonially-garbed up. Feeling more and more like a graduate, I realised that I had forgotten to book in at the registration tables. I must’ve pulled the crazy ‘aaaarrrrgggghhh’ face in my desperation to locate the tables, but thankfully I quickly spied where they were and navigated Dad, my designated driver, towards them. Good job too, because it was here I received my seating tickets, introduction card and complimentary drinks tickets.

Then I arrived at the most important part of the day – finally meeting my friend Ali squared graduation 1Nexie, my online study buddy and crazy conversationalist partner for the last five years. I think I nearly ruined my make-up, I got so teary-eyed! I have to say, going across the stage for the degree conferment was amazing, but meeting Nex made my day. Distance learning can be so isolating, so it made it that much more special to have someone there who had shared the experience with you. We both understood how much we had put into our studies, the outside struggles and stresses we had endured throughout the time we were studying, and the good times, devastations, and late-night panic sessions around TMA and results time. I just wish I had been able to see her cross the stage for her presentation, but I was waiting backstage after taking a roller-coaster tour of the building after my own presentation (all the wheelchair accessible ramps are backstage). I did clap as loud I as could, though!

All in all, graduation day was brilliant! I am glad that Nex and my cousin K spent hours talking me into going, and that I was able to share the day with both of them. I was also glad that Princi’s school allowed her the afternoon off school so she could be with me too – despite her antics ruining a lot of photos, as she held leaves or rabbit-ear fingers above my head! crown of leaves graduationleaf face graduation But the biggest, serendipitous giggle happened during the outdoor photographs at the end of the ceremony with the arrival of this van. It was just perfect after being awarded with a First-class Honours degree (please excuse the badly cropped together image!): Smart Alex

That’s the way, aha aha, I like it! July 26, 2013

Posted by phoenixaeon in Children's Literature, Degrees, E301, ECA, Holy heck my head's exploding!, hospital, OU.


Yay! I did it! I got the first-class honours! I am so chuffed, the mintball train is positively chugging out the mintballs.

So the results for E301 came in. I was dreading this day, because it meant my OU experience was all but over (I still have my graduation ceremony to come). But I felt no dread staring at the nice red letters declaring I had a pass 2 for E301. It was only relief and jubilation.

How in the world did I manage 90% on the EMA?

How in the world did I manage 90% on the EMA?

Firstly, relief I had passed the EMA (the OES score). Then jubilation that I had somehow written something that was worth 90%. How in hell? Unbelievable! Thirdly, what was the point in applying the substitution when no matter what way you looked at it  – without substitution 79.35%, with substitution 79.45%, rounded down for the actual OCAS 79% – it wasn’t going to affect my result. I don’t know. Pointless maths at its most pointless. But whatever – I HAD PASSED! Joy of joys.

And that was just the topping on the cake of joy, which I had gratefully been chomping since yesterday. The first slice of joy appeared in the form of an email. This email contained my holy grail: a conditional offer of acceptance into the Children’s Literature MA at Roehampton University. *Snoopy dance* Now I have the first-class honours, this is a done deal. Can you see that super bright beam of light? No, it’s not a light sabre, that’s me in my happy. Yay! However, my happy also contains elements of gut-wrenching fear after seeing the reading lists for the modules. Yikes! Here’s hoping I can actually do this. I am so worried I am going to botch it all up.

The second slice of joy came at a hospital appointment. I had gone to meet with a surgeon about an operation to remove my gall bladder. Over the last few years I have been suffering with crippling, painful gallstone attacks. But thanks to Niamhie forcing our Lent promise, I have managed to change my diet quite drastically, meaning I haven’t had an attack since April. Once I had told the surgeon this he proposed that if I continued for the next couple of months without another attack then the operation could be deferred. Yay! I was petrified of this operation, as the meeting with the anaesthetist raised fears of being on a ventilator for the rest of my life due to the affects the muscle relaxant would have in combination with the muscular dystrophy. Now the possibility of not needing the operation is there, it’s made me more determined to keep up with the improved diet and not fall back into bad eating habits. Woohoo!

So there is my happy slice of cakey life as of today. I was aiming for 2:1 degree, but I think I overshot a little *squeeee*. Here, have some mintballs!

Doin’ a l’il dance… May 30, 2013

Posted by phoenixaeon in Degrees, E301, EMA, Essay written, OU, The end of E301.

I have done it! Done, done, done it! I have completed and submitted the last 3,000 word essay for my degree. I’ve probably put on a stone in chocolate, but hell yeah! I’ve done it!

So, the stupidity thing didn’t go well. I was stupid to think it could work. 1,500 words into the demon essay, and the evil cur Writer’s Block attacked. I sank into linguistic despair. The more I struggled to write, the more the quicksand sucked me down. So I ditched the dead weight, and began writing an analysis on my second choice texts: a Facebook conversation written in the pseudo-voice of William Wordsworth and ‘The Tyger’ by William Blake. The quicksand spat me out quick-sharpish.


It has still taken almost a week to write the bugger, but once I made the switch I could breathe again. It was hard going for a while, but the last 1,000-1,500 words seemed to fly by. Okay, it was more than that as I had to go back and cut stuff out because I went over the word count. But today I finally reached the ‘yippee ki yay’ status of the essay. Yippee ki yay!


So that is my degree completed. Five and a half long years of toil. *Fingers crossed* that I pass the course now. The only problem now is, I feel like I’m dangling over the edge of an abyss, wondering where I am going next…

And it all comes down to this… May 9, 2013

Posted by phoenixaeon in Degrees, E301, EMA, OU, Tempus fujit stupidus, The end of E301, TMA06.
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So. Today, I sent in my final ever TMA. ‘Reading is a creative act, just as writing is. Discuss.’


Well. Discuss, I am sure, I did not! It was honestly the worst essay I have ever written. I actually cringed when I pressed the submit button. Because submit is exactly what I did. I gave up. I could not mentally organise the reading to work out what I was trying to say. I didn’t argue, I simply burnt out and went fully with the opinion that reading is a creative act. I offered absolutely no counter argument, like I know I should have.


I have one saving grace in this mess of an essay. No matter what mark it receives, it’s not going to affect the overall grade of the module so far. The only thing that could bugger up the pass 2 I am on course for is the result for the EMA. Another 3,000 words of stress, set to begin next Monday. I just feel as though I have sold myself short by not producing something worthwhile for this last essay. Stupid, stupid me.


And talking of stupid, that is the subject for the EMA. I’ve had to choose two texts to analyse – one an ‘every day’ text, the other a ‘literary’ text. For the every day text I am using a Facebook conversation that plays on the word stupid in a few different ways. For the literary, I have chosen excerpts from a philosophical treatise, A Short Introduction to the History of Human Stupidity, by Walter B. Pitkin. I am quite looking forward to writing this one, because both the texts make me laugh. And that is always a good thing.


3,000 words and one month stands between me and freedom. Passing this module stands between me and a First Class Honours degree. Five and a half long years of study have come down to this. And I can hardly believe I am nearly at the finishing line.


So time to get writing. Tempus fujit, stupidus!

Falling Seagulls October 8, 2007

Posted by phoenixaeon in Degrees, laughing seagulls, Oh £$%* I've fallen again, poop.
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Not literally, though that does conjure up a fabulous image in my brain (I’m giggling at myself now).

I had a fall last night. God, I hate falling. Principessa had been playing with an empty Gravy Granules tin and had taken off the plastic lid and left it on the stair lift. I had knocked it off so that I could go downstairs, and it had ended up on the floor in the hall. Well, when it was time to go to bed, I walked to the stair lift, sorted it out so I could sit down, put my foot on the lid, it slid on the floor, and I went over hitting my face on the banister on the way down. I hit the floor so hard that my hips are still hurting today. I had to call Gaz over to help get the inflatichair out and to get me up off the inflatichair once it had fully inflated. Ho hum! Needless to say, I went to bed in a horrible mood.

Now, the seagulls. This morning laughing seagulls woke me up. It has been so long since I heard the cry (or laugh) of a seagull that I thought I had woken up in a horror movie sound effects studio! And my, were those seagulls noisy! Maybe they were falling!

Principessa was in over share mode this morning. She was sat in my bed watching ‘Dora’ when she turned to me (I was still snoozing), grabbed my face and said, “I need to go for a poop.” It was all quite matter-of-fact, so she toddled out of the bedroom and to the toilet. I think she still feels quite proud of herself that she is a big girl and uses the toilet rather than the potty. She makes me laugh!

Kirst and I have decided that it is time we got a degree. I did try, years ago, only to be defeated by condemned halls and depression. Only three exams stopped me from getting a degree in Biomedical Science. Robbed, I was. Anyway, we have decided to sort out a degree in Humanities with English Language with the OU. It’s going to take about 5 years, but at least I will finally have a degree.