It’s a joke, but a pertinent one; That I am actually a dugong in an unconvincing, badly-fitting human suit, who gets closer and closer to discovery every day. Basically, my life goals revolve around swimming and eating a lot of seaweed. When asked to do things other than swim or eat a lot of seaweed, I get panicky and short-tempered and quickly fail.
Right now, I’m on the cusp of failing my degree, for about the fifth time. (Second year resits, second year part-time and quit, second year part-time with work, third year part-time resit and made redundant). That was all biology, or biomed, or animal physiology, or genetics. Life sciences, basically.
After getting my CELTA and living abroad for a year, I decided to go to the Open Uni and finish up my degree. So all I needed to do was a couple of second-year credits, and then my whole third year. I decided to do German, since I spoke German fairly well, and that went well; I got either Firsts or high 2.1s in every module, all the way up to 60 credits into third year, where I ran out of German to study.
This felt ridiculous.
And suddenly, I had to start another discipline, at 3rd-year level, without any of the prerequisites. I couldn’t do biology, since I wasn’t up-to-date enough (Five years away from the coal-face, and I could barely do my own molarity calculations, never mind telling someone how they related to determining the viability of bull semen) and I couldn’t do german, since there was not enough third-year credits available in german with the university (It was expected that anyone studying modern languages would study two, so the final year would be 60 credits of german and 60 of french, or similar). So I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
I chose an English language module – I’d earnt my CELTA (Certificate in the English Language Teaching of Adults), after all, which was all about language handling, and it was the closest thing to degree-level knowledge of english that I had, other than a good A-level in english language and a lifetime of thinking really hard about my word choices.
So I started on it, and by Christmas I was lagging behind horrendously because of EDS, and the attendant fatigue, and having gone mental, again. I got deadlines extended, reassurance that I was going to be fine, plenty of hand-holding… And still, I’m behind.
Last week, I phoned the OU and said that I was going to drop out, and asked if I could just claim the non-honours, unclassified version of the degree.
Today, I got an email from the OU saying that they could offer to let me take the replacement module for the English course next year for free, and that I might want to do that, since a degree in no subjects, with no honours and no classification is basically no degree.
So, I’m back where I started – Part of me wants to just cash-in my credits and be done with it. I can’t get a degree-level job anyway, not with a five-year-long career gap and a collection of illnesses that make me a terminally shit employee, but part of me still views that as giving up, and that I should try again at least one more time. I don’t rally have the option of stopping now and starting up again in the future, since (thanks to the new tuition fees) I can’t afford it.
And I’m going to be fined by the Revenue for failing to fill out a tax return, even though I did fill it out, it was just their stupid website that didn’t acept it.
And I’ve lost £30 to a website which ripped me off on a Windows access code, and am having to talk to the fraud people about it.
I don’t know. My human suit doesn’t fit very well today.