Posted by: Gillian | May 10, 2010

Flexibility stress at adult exam time

Adult learners and independent workers alike are bombarded with ideas about managing their time.  Some are endlessly positive and others ruthlessly prescriptive.  This is not a ‘deep’ post but a de-stressing one for those looking for something that does not exist.  As one who works independently in higher/professional education, I observe:

  1. Global working means global hours
  2. Professional and part-time learners tend to be really aware of their time and that is the first positive step to creating some cut-off points.  After all, you need to eat so why not stop everything for one of breakfast/lunch/dinner – whichever best suits your work/learning/family commitments balance?  Even ten minutes helps.
  3. George Turnbull’s comments aimed at UK school(under19) exam takers can be adapted very easily by anyone taking exams and the core advice is sound http://tinyurl.com/34gnr6y
  4. Personal and work stress undoubtedly mess up education/learning schedules and it is far from unusual even if, to you, it seems the end of the world.
  5. It is supposed to be a teenage phenomenon but yes, some adults do whinge.
  6. Adults, as learners (or teachers), can take 30 seconds out and think:
  1. What was my goal when I started
  2. Is my goal still relevant  (if given an extra hour a day)
  3. Am I rethinking things so badly that even the L’Oreal ‘because I’m worth it’ comment  raises neither a  spark of anger nor a spark of recognition

Adults can have reasons for giving up on courses or for not fulfilling work commitments.  Fairly obviously, the role of the moment matters.  If you are in exam stress, take that 30 seconds and think.  Forget the ‘no pain no gain’ rubbish – you have hit the pain.  The problem is sorting out the priorities.

If on active service in the middle of a war zone (yes, it is common!), just make contact with your uni/college as fast as you reasonably can.  There are Appeals procedures that will apply to you (and if not, contact me and I’ll take that up with whomsoever)

If you have a major work emergency such as a takeover or front-page national news event that throws your entire team into disarray, then contact your uni/college fast.  Again, there are Appeals procedures.

If you have a death or other major family incident to handle, contact your Tutor or Student Office within at least four weeks.  Some institutions allow more time.  If your institution allows less, do appeal because the vast majority of places allow for genuine ‘out of the blue’, knocked-sideways conditions.

If your family or your work is being moderately or ‘forgetively’ supportive and you are not sure:

  1. Yes, I am here
  2. Do  not give up until you have done those exams and been seen wanting
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