5 Things I’ve Learned In My First Year With The Open University

University, the best years of your life, or the worst? For every student, their university experience is different.

2017 feels like just yesterday. It was a year of change for me and for quite a few months I was questioning what the next step in my life would be. After many tears and long discussions, I decided to take the plunge and signed up to The Open University to study a BA (Honours) Education Studies (Primary) degree.

Somehow, it’s been a year since I started with The Open University and September is fast approaching. So here are just a few things I’ve learned along the way including a fair few life lessons during my first year with The Open University.

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Self Motivation Is Key

With any work that is done from home, self-motivation is a given.

Before starting my studies with The Open University I knew that it would take a lot of self-motivation to be able to complete my work and get my assignments in on time, however, I don’t think I was prepared for how much was needed.

I was lucky in my first year to have 2 great tutors who would regularly send emails out to check on how I am finding work and I was lucky to also be a part of some amazing forums with others that are studying the same subject as me.

Distance learning can leave you feeling quite isolated as you’re learning independently and it can be difficult to find the motivation to do your work as there is no one there to nag you. It’s something I have to push myself to do and find the best ways to motivate myself even when I feel I have zero motivation.

Over the past 12 months I have definitely found the best ways of motivating myself, and the forest app has become my new best friend! (if you know, you know!)

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You Have To Find That Balance

Studying at home can be great as it means you have that flexibility when it comes to when you want to do your work, but sometimes, you need to be strict with yourself.

As I slowly got into my studies, I learned how many hours a week I needed to put in, what time of day I could work most effectively and how I could fit a social life around my course. But sometimes, you can become too strict on yourself and not find the time to relax and have a social life, especially around exam season!

It can take a while and can be difficult to find that balance but it is really important that you do as it will make you a more effective learner.

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It Can Be Incredibly Rewarding

There is something tremendously rewarding when you get your results back from an assignment that you’ve completed independently and have been able to motivate yourself without all of the modern day distractions… * cough * Instagram.

When you receive the results you’ve worked so hard for its such a confidence boost as you’ve achieved something all on your own with little to no help, especially when you exceed your expectations! It’s a feeling like no other and gives you the motivation you need for the upcoming assignments/ year.

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Underestimating Myself

It’s something that probably any student goes through at some point in their study, but I cannot begin to tell you how much I’ve doubted myself over the past year, especially when it comes down to studying and thinking about future career plans.

I’ve worked extremely hard over the past year, but I still feel after putting in my all, it still isn’t good enough.

Despite feeling this way, I am incredibly proud to have come out of my first year averaging at a 2:1, but I know what I need to do in order to achieve my goals and know that I shouldn’t underestimate myself. Sometimes you just have to believe in yourself and know you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

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I Am Still So Young

Something that I’ve struggled to accept for a long time and throughout my first year at uni is that I am still so young and I don’t need to have my whole life figured out! At the end of the day, does anybody really have their whole life mapped out?

It is important to stay focused on your dreams but don’t let them take over your happiness. I am a great believer that everything happens for a reason.

With 2 more years left, I still have no clue what the future holds for me; whether I’ll be a teacher, an educational psychologist, a play therapist or something completely different! Nothing is certain, but I am excited to learn new things about something that inspires me and come out with a degree. Just trust yourself and believe you can do anything you set your mind to.

One step at a time.

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To plan and prioritise my work, I use the Dodo Acad-Pad which is a A mid-year diary, doodle, memo, message, engagement, calendar, organiser and planner book for students, teachers & scholars. This diary is quite possibly the best planner I’ve used and is perfect for students! To purchasw your, please use the link below

Dodo Acad-Pad

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you’d like to see more university related content from me then please let me know, it’s something I’d love to do. Maybe a post explaining why I chose open uni over anything else? Your thoughts are always welcome!

Have you ever studied with The Open University? What kind of experience did you have and what did you learn from it? Or, what have you learned from your time at any university? I’d love to hear from you. 

Hannah xo

Instagram: @hannah_brixey

Pinterest: @hannahbrixey

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Join the conversation


  1. Hannah, first of all, heartfelt congratulations on successfully completing your first year with The Open University UK! Hoping that you will continue to thrive academically in your subsequent study years with the OU! Anyway, I’m keen on knowing as to how you have calculated the classification of your first academic year?! Eagerly awaiting to hear back from you in this regard!

    1. Hi Gaurang, thank you so much for your comment. I have calculated this grade from the OU grading table whereby achieving between 70-85% is an upper second class (2:1).

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