Louise Wilford is an OU law student from Tonyrefail in her 3rd year. She’s taken part in internships through the OU and GO Wales, and also has a popular YouTube channel where she talks about her studies and gives advice to other students.
Here she shares her experience of distance learning and her most recent work placement at the OU.
Distance learning for me is something I enjoy a lot. The flexibility it gives me is the best part. If I’m having a good week, I can get plenty of work done with time to spare, if I’m not that’s okay too because the modules are not fast paced or rushed so I can take my time and absorb the information. Distance learning is also great because everything is at your fingertips, no need for lectures and waiting around you can view all the information you need on the OU website so you can pick up where you left off at any point. I used to read materials when I was waiting in the car on the school run, which I usually got a little caught up in and managed to find myself running for the school gates.
I’ve learnt a lot through the years of studying with the OU. Some of the best things I’ve learnt is how to prepare for big events or just preparing for studying in general. Preparing for assignments has given me a skill that transfers outside of studying. I’m using the same technique to buy Christmas presents this year (take your time, break it down in to smaller more manageable chunks and its done before you know it). I’ve also learnt that I’m a lot smarter than I thought I was, the OU lets you see your full potential yourself; you work hard for the marks you get not just with studying but with managing everyday life.
Talking about everyday life, it can be hard sometimes to fit everything in, but it comes eventually. I’ve wanted a career in law for as long as I can remember (except for that one time I trained as a hairdresser) so making the time to study was easy for me. Now I’ve been doing it for a while I have figured out how to make time for things that I find fun like exploring new places in Britain or visiting theme parks.
I found at the start that the best method was grab every minute I had spare. Anytime my daughter went down for a nap or played quietly I would study. As things started to change and she got older (leaving those blissful naps behind her) I found that giving myself a set time and day(s) each week worked best for me and then I'd focus solely on my studies and find most of the time I’d be ahead of schedule leaving time to take off for my trips to Alton Towers.
I’m also incredibly lucky to be part of GO Wales through the OU, who have helped me gain valuable experience. I was given the chance to do a virtual placement with the OU, which is possibly the best thing to happen to me so far. The placement work is based around legislation, so it’s something I really enjoy. The placement is done completely online but I still get to meet the wonderful people who work for the OU in Wales. The placement is just like studying, I do the work at my own pace and when best suites me. Not to mention all the support I’ve been given throughout so I never feel like I’m doing it by myself.