Looking forward to 2010

So, now the question is, what do I have planned for 2010?  Well, amongst other things:

  • Taking the RSCM Silver Award
  • Trying to run a half marathon, and/or trying to run a sub-30 minute 5K.  Actually, from where I’m standing right now, just getting running again would be a good start!
  • Completing the Nijmegen Vierdaagse (4 x 40km march)
  • My first Level 3 Open University course, in Infectious Diseases

And, of course, somewhere within all of this, I need to fit in some travelling, to destinations as yet unknown!

    SD226 Day School

    Since I was in the UK this weekend, I took the chance to go to Leeds to attend a day school for my ongoing Open University course in Biological Psychology.  Having given most of my attention to the Human Biology course over the last few months, the day school was a great opportunity to refocus on this course, and receive some tuition that didn’t come out of the text books.  I attended two tutorials, one on experimental design, particularly relating to the End of Course Assessment (ECA) and the other on schizophrenia.  Both were informative and well presented.  It was also great to meet some other people on the course (predominantly women, and most studying psychology).

    Afterwards, Mum and Dad picked me up (they’d taken the opportunity to visit a stately home in the area) and we went to the Middleton heritage railway.  We arrived just in time to catch the last train ride of the day.  We finished the day off with a birthday meal for Mum, at Swadesh, a fairly new (well, to me, anyway) Indian restaurant in Bowdon.

    OU Study Group

    This afternoon I hosted a small study group for my Biological Psychology course – of the six people on the course who are based in The Netherlands, we managed to muster up 3 participants (including myself). We spent about three hours chatting and discussing various aspects of the course – how the OU works, how to write essays, what a pain it is to try and get your head around all the terminology in the course. Having neglected study recently for other distractions I was concerned before we met that I might be out of my depth in the discussions, but in fact the three of us seemed to work well together, and coming from different backgrounds, all had different perspectives to offer. I found it a very enjoyable afternoon, and I hope we can have another meeting soon.

    SK277 Human Biology – TMA01

    As a general rule, most of what arrives through my letter box is not of great excitement – junk mail, letters addressed to the previous occupants, or if I’m really lucky, a bank statement.

    As it happens, there was one thing I’ve been expecting for the last week or so – the results from the first assignment (on Cells and Nutrition) of my Human Biology course.  In the event, I was so sidetracked when I came home this evening, wondering if Rupert was finally going to manage to keep down his dinner (he did, a great relief to all!), that it was some time before I realised that the dreaded OU envelope had arrived.

    Despite the rush to finish the essay in time for the deadline, I surprised myself once again by scoring 88%.  The tutor’s remarks were also very positive, although his final comment “I look forward to receiving your next assignment” certainly increases the pressure for TMA02.

    (picture taken from “Cells and Nutrition”, Open University 2004)

    Gadgets and Widgets

    In an effort to get a little fitter before my holiday in November, I have now signed up for the fitness club at work, and, even more unexpectedly, joined the running club. I must admit that I attended my first running session with quite some trepidation, not in the least because I am the only beginner in the group and my recollections of school athletics classes were not encouraging. Still, I have now survived three running sessions and I begin to feel that there is hope yet!

    Ever one to require verification of my progress through measurement, I have also acquired a Nike Plus sensor (and, ahem, a beautiful shiny blue iPod Nano). I took them out this evening for my very first solo run, and here are the results.

    On a more indoor note, I have recently received my marks for the latest Open University course, Molecules, Medicines and Drugs, (I passed!), and am now embarking on a new short course in Nutrition, as well as challenging myself to a longer course, Understanding Health Sciences, which will take 9 months to complete.

    As you can see from the nutrition chart (from www.2000cal.com) , the “measure it” principle doesn’t only apply to running, and the Nutrition course has lead me to investigating websites which will log your food intake, and give you a nutritional summary. A nice feature of the course is that part of the assignment involves analysing your own diet (or that of a willing guinea pig… any volunteers?)

    Analysis of over the last week already shows that my diet is low in Vitamin A (interesting, as Vitamin A is good, amongst other things, for night vision – something which I’ve always had problems with). Although walrus liver is apparently a good source of Vitamin A, I’ve decided to go for the more practical, not to mention palatable (I hope!) approach of drinking carrot juice (guess there’s some truth in the saying the carrots help you see in the dark, after all).


    Studying Mammals Result

    Just logged into the OU website to find my result for the Studying Mammals course – 82 percent. There would be a percent sign but punctuation is quite a challenge on a Morroccan keyboard. Anyway, Im very pleased.

    SK185 – Molecules, Medicines and Drugs

    Great excitement when I got home on Friday night (or should that be Saturday morning) after a relaxing few drinks at our monthly choir social, and found a parcel waiting for me.

    Despite the lateness of the hour, I had to rip open the box of materials for my new Open University course, amongst them a molecular modelling kit.

    This little beastie is an aspirin molecule – black balls represent carbon, red ones are oxygen, and the white ones, hydrogen.