It’s always daunting to see how fast time travels by. Since March I’ve not really known which way to turn, except for one week that we took for a ‘holiday’ in Cape Town after writing exams. Exams, I might add, that I passed well, considering what was going on in my life during the months prior to writing: Autism month…
a brother who passed away suddenly,
and a daughter far away ‘down under’, who suffered a miscarriage. Sad I wasn’t able to be there for her. 😦
Since this blog is mostly around my Distance Learning experiences and especially about building the practical portfolio this year, I’ve decided to enter my ‘Reflections’ from my portfolio task as blog entries. They will take the reader back a few months in time, but for me, it’s rewarding to see how my studies and abilities, develop and improve.
Research blues (April 2014)
Having completed one third of this portfolio I am feeling intimidated, wondering if I will actually make it through. Illness cost me a week’s worth of scheduled study time. I am tired and exams are approaching. Each time I think of a problem statement, I change my mind. This task feels like Mount Everest.
What I really want to research I have no clue how to approach…the correlation between the use of a library and school results…the attitude towards the library and how it affects school performance…the students’ attitudes towards the school library and how they reflect that of teachers and parents. I feel I know too little – about school libraries, about research, about anything, really. I feel discouraged and disoriented, probably because I am panicking right now. The School closes from mid-June until September. How will this task get done? I am totally overwhelmed with exams to study for, classification and cataloguing assignments to complete, a home to run with no domestic help, and son’s large puppy to cope with. Next step…email my lecturer!
Mid-year encouragement (May/June ’14)
Can one month make such a difference? Still overwhelmed, still snowed under with studies and work, but feeling a lot more positive about the Portfolio. Getting a reply e-mail from my lecturer was a relief, as I had misunderstood the brief. I thought that I have to conduct the research, not only plan it. Now, however, there is light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
I am surprised at how intimidated I feel regarding research. I always thought I could be a research librarian, or a research assistant, because I love looking for information, finding it, evaluating it. I had no clue what research involved until we did the RSC2601 course at 2nd Level. Now that I have to actually plan a research project I feel very unsure of myself – insecure in what I think, in what I plan, in what I decide. At this point I don’t have that autonomous confidence a librarian should have. I realise that I need to start believing in myself.
The one thing I miss with Distance Learning is conversation with fellow students. UNISA forums are not popular – people obviously don’t like to ask questions, or air their opinions on a public forum. Subject discussion re assignment or topics of interest would really be helpful in using correct vocabulary, expressing ideas and hearing those of others. In our assignments we express ideas, quote others, discuss our understanding on the topic; we get a mark, most often with no comment at all. It is difficult to know where we went ‘wrong’. I look forward to future employment in a library environment, to be exposed to the practical experience.
Completing Task 2 – July ’14
I have recently returned from a 5-week visit in South Africa. After UNISA exams my husband and I enjoyed a week’s holiday in Cape Town.
I left for Pretoria, while hubby returned to Doha.
I stayed in a gorgeous B & B, “de Vygeboom“. WOW! Immensely thankful for a warm bed and a quiet place to work on my Subject Classification assignment.
and saw the library’s automatic sorting machine in action. The cataloguing and classification course was especially valuable.
Being at UNISA campus for 2 weeks gave me new perspective and drive.
Meeting fellow students and lecturers, and talking about subjects, problems and assignments was motivating. To hear that we all face the same issues, fears, joys, and anxieties was a huge relief. Isolation does negative things to one’s self-esteem. I remained in S.A. a further two weeks, to do assignment work without the normal interruptions of home.
Back in Doha, I tackled Portfolio Task 2 with renewed vigour. (Task 1 was given a good review, much to my relief.)
Other assignments were also waiting. Time was against me, and I was not able to read through the books and articles as I would have hoped. As I was completing this task, I was surprised how much clearer it became. Now, at the end, I still wonder if I have approached the research plan correctly; however, I am encouraged to perceive the positive difference in my approach, compared to 2 or 3 months ago.