Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Psych'd: Guest Post from an OU Psychology Student

This is a guest post from a fellow OU student and blogger also from the Merseyside area. It's great to read another student's point of view, and to have a glimpse into another experience. I regularly read this blog and really enjoy looking at the reading lists he posts.

Kevin writes a great blog about his OU journey at Psych'd, pop over and take a look. You can also follow his on Twitter @picklewalsh. Enjoy!

Hi guys and gals, this is my first guest blog here, well anywhere to be honest, I normally sit in my own quiet corner of the net. Considering no one knows who I am I think it is best I best start with an introduction. My name is Kevin and I am a first year Open University student doing a BSC in Psychology. I have a massive passion for forensic psychology and my dream is to work with child offenders to help rehabilitate them before they become career criminals. I am also a step-dad to an amazing little three year old boy who keeps me on my toes and makes life worth living. It’s been just over two years since I married his mom, who I am lucky to say is also my best friend. In my spare time, not that there is much, I blog about my course over on Psych’d and tweet under the name @picklewalsh.

Each Saturday on my blog I try to write a summary of the work undertaken that week, not that it goes into too much detail but I find it helps me unwind and put an end to that week’s work.  These seem to have become a bit of a hit amongst OU student, even the ones that have finished the course but want to relive the nightmare ;)

I have always had a love for psychology and a need to understand human behaviour, how can you not have a fascination with the organ that causes feelings and emotions, make you feel love and grief. How can you not love the organ that created Shakespeare’s work and enables us to comprehend the vastness of the universe? This pile of pink and grey mush that lives in our skulls is capable of the most beautiful things in the world and at the same time the most disgusting crimes thinkable. Why do people kill? Why do they steal? Why do they abuse? These are some of the questions that keep me thinking every day and the reason why I want to become a forensic psychologist.

Currently I am riding that sweet wave of relief that every OU student knows, the one you get after submitting a particularly hard assignment. You see it’s not that I don’t like my module, DD101 – Introduction to Social Sciences, but it’s just very vast and introduces you to a lot of subjects, not all of them particularly interesting or engaging. So far we have covered such topics as identity, social order, inequalities and consumption. All of these sound interesting; unfortunately my next essay is comparing two methods of traffic calming, not the most thrilling of subjects. The results of my TMA’s (Teacher Marked Assignments) so far have not been amazing, the first brought me 65/100 the second was a bit better at 68. I find this a little disheartening but they are still passes at the end of the day and I have been out of education for a long time so im looking at them in a positive light.

An average week in the life of an OU student consists of about 7-10 hours of reading followed by online activities and audio materials. Sometimes we do have video to watch also. The material is generally interesting enough and takes me a lot longer than the time stated, mainly due to my over the top note taking system. If you are lucky enough to live in, or close by, a major city then you will be able to take advantage of the monthly tutorials. These are quite helpful in understanding the work and I really should make more of an effort to go to them. I'm quite lucky in this module that there are not any exams, just 6 TMA’s and one EMA (Electronic Marked Assignments), exams are not really my strong point.

I must admit being a full time stay at home dad and a husband while trying to do a degree is really hard; I find it very difficult to fit everything in. Sometimes resulting in the housework suffering or my son getting bored, which has on occasion has resulted in arguments between the wife and I. Over all though I cannot stress how supportive she has been in this. The most important and helpful thing an OU student can have is a supportive family who believes in you and gives you a kick up the bum when you need it, which I often do.

So what is next for me? Well I will have completed DD101 by the end of May and looking forward to DE100 which will be more psychological and more up my street. If you want to follow me in that journey please feel free to do so.


  1. Yay thanks for having me Kerrie :)

  2. Sounds Awesome! I am also a 1st year student and am currently studying Understanding the Autism Spectrum. I am aiming for an open degree. Good Luck with your studies! Psychology must be really interesting! :) Im doing Health Sciences next! I am little scared lol!

  3. good luck with it all. I did an OU module before kids not sure I could fit it in now ;-)

  4. I have done dd101 so know how you feel! It definitely gets more interesting as you go along

  5. Good Luck with your degree. You seem to have it pretty worked out what you want to do, which is really admirable x

  6. I've never done an OU course - I think I'd be too slack to motivate myself!

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