Sunday, 7 February 2010

Educating Skint Chick

So at the moment I'm studying for an AS level in Italian after having passed my GCSE with an A*. When I applied for the course I was feeling very confident that I would find it easy as when I was at school I studied both French and German at A level and even today I'm still pretty fluent in both languages despite only using them on holidays. It turns out that it's not going as well as I wanted it to - I'm struggling to find the time to put into study outside of the weekly class. I guess at school I would have been attending a class two or three times a week and then doing the homework at the weekend too so I was more exposed to the vocabulary and repetition.

I decided last week to have a little list of 10words a day to learn and try and use and I've been grouping them together by subject, for example last week I learn vocab about the environment and recycling. It seems to be working ok but if there are any other suggestions I would welcome them - I only have 3months until the exam!

I'm also taking a course on history one evening a week, it's quite a light class as we have a lecture and then a small discussion. It's based around a topic I studied at university so I have a good background knowledge and the themes discussed are familiar to me. Ideally I'd like to start my PhD soon and I have some ideas for a research topic, I took this class to try and formalise the ideas into a research proposal and to get me thinking outside the box.

Both courses finish in May so I have the summer free and then in September I'll have to decide where to go from here. I've already decided that I don't want to take my Italian classes further to A level because of the time commitment involved and the syllabus is basically what I've already studied but in more detail. So I have the option of a Spanish course - and I've seen a language swap company online that offer a week in Spain with free accommodation. In return I would be talking to Spanish people in English for a few hours a day. If I applied to go there next summer I would get a chance to explore a Spanish town in my free time and practice the skills I would learn from September - what do you guys think?

Or I could take a more creative option, I've always wanted to improve my photography skills and be able to take better pictures. Most of my pictures come out pretty well but I'd like to have more technical know-how about focus and exposure to make my pictures really stunning so I could get some made into canvases for my home. I'd also love to be able to make my own clothes and do a dressmaking course. I had enrolled on one last year but then my job got really manic and I ended up dropping out. There are so many things I'd love to learn but don't have the time to do them all!

Realistically my PhD is probably going to be a couple more years, what with working full time and thinking about having a family I won't really have the time or the money to undertake such a big commitment and I don't want to start it and not be able to finish. Plus part time means at least 5 years of research on one topic, that's a long time to keep focus and motivation when my masters dissertation only took a few months and at times I felt as though it was taking over my life.

As you can tell I'm not very good at decisions!

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