Feb 22

Text Book Terror

It’s been quite a few years since I have attempted university studies and I admit I’m excited about starting an Arts degree at Macquarie Uni (through Open Universities) at the beginning of March.

Cultural Studies, third edition by Chris BarkerLast week I ordered the text book for my first subject, Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice by Chris Baker, which surprisingly arrived at my doorstep only two days later. Unfortunately, in the place of the laid-back Arts degree text book I was expecting, I received a book filled with some rather large words and an intimidating number of topics and subtopics.

Panic set in as I wondered what on earth I was getting myself into.

After ten and a half years at home with at least one child fulltime, I’m left wondering whether I’m still able to function mentally on a level that involves discussions with words of more than 3 syllables. Some days it’s a miracle that I can even remember my own name, how am I supposed to intelligently compose an essay on topics like ‘subject positions and the politics of representation’ or ‘The institutions of modernity: the dynamism of capitalist modernity’.

I feel like Dorothy walking fearfully through the enchanted woods near Oz. ‘Isms’, ‘ists’ and ‘tions’. Oh, my!

I can relate to Seraphim’s recent post at Oh, the Possibilities where she discusses loosing her ability to turn off her mother-brain. Opportunities to discuss subjects that aren’t in some way related to children and family life can be few and far between for a stay-at-home mum and when the opportunity does present itself, it can be quite difficult to refocus.

I’m psyching myself up for an interesting few weeks as I try to kick start my long neglected brain and switch into university mode. I’m not sure whether it’s possible, but I’m willing to try and I’m looking forward to challenging myself with this course.

Wish me luck.

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  1. Megan

    Wow, well done on embarking on a new challenge! Good luck!
    .-= Megan´s last blog ..Read, Share… Riley Books =-.

  2. Life and the memoirs

    Oh Susan!
    How I can relate to this post! I have a young family and I’m also starting a university degree, Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) through OUA. Yesterday was day 1!
    My first subject, SSK12 introduction to university learning.
    I completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1992!! My how things have changed. How I have changed. I’m feeling EXACTLY the same as you! I’ve already had moments of what am I getting myself into here? Why did I want to do this?
    Give me a week or so and I’m sure the unknown will become clear and confidence will set in.
    Good luck!
    .-= Life and the memoirs´s last blog ..italian cooking =-.

    1. Susan

      A few days in and I’m feeling both better and worse. I’m gradually getting better at navigating the uni website and forums etc, but I’m still getting my feet time management-wise.

      I’m sure by the end of next week we’ll both be wondering what we were worried about (I hope)!

  3. Becky Heye

    SUSAN, Need your help,with Textbook Terror: I too am taking a university course that is using the same book for its text: Cultural Studies by Chris Barker…. I can’t wade through chapter 1. What tips did you use or can share for interpreting this text?


    1. Susan

      I wish I could tell you that the book suddenly made sense, Becky, but I found it a real struggle through the whole of the course. I found I relied mostly on the course notes and simply looked up specific information in the text book when I needed extra details. Reading the course notes first did help a little when coming back to the text, so hopefully you have detailed notes from your lecturer that will give you a good overview.

      Good luck. Having to deal with this text book made me change my mind about enrolling in further Cultural Studies subjects. I’ve shifted my focus to something else now and am enjoying my studies much more. It’s a shame, because the subject itself seemed quite interesting. I hope that you do well this semester. Just keep at it!

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