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Michael Howard

Michael Howard

What subject are you studying?

A combination of biological and environmental science.

Why did you choose to study this subject, qualification?

At first, I wanted to study geography, so started with an ‘environment’ module.  I loved it and then realised that I could manage sciences.  The level 1 ‘Exploring Science’ module led me to choosing the science modules that I liked and could do best.

Why did you choose to study this at the OU?

After taking the wrong route at school, I had always wanted to try university level study.  I had no university entry qualifications and OU study from home suited me perfectly.

Share one or two highlights of your time studying with the OU?

Passing the first exam that I had taken for 40 years.  I was quite nervous and had suddenly lost the sight in one eye a few weeks before.  The result felt like a massive achievement.

Recently getting a Microbiology Prize was a real high.  It has made me want to push my learning boundaries, even further.

What are your aims for the future?

Now, even being an older student, I am thinking of post-graduate qualification options, but it will take another 2 years to graduate first!  Yes, I wish I had done this before!  My general aims are to study natural history and help in local nature conservation work.

How has OU study changed your life?

An office career made me feel as though I lacked worthwhile knowledge and skills.  Now, bringing up my grand-daughter, I feel very confident in Maths, English, Computer Skills and all the Sciences as she goes into secondary education.  I am hoping that my confidence and learning experience with the OU will help inspire her own success.

Also, amazingly, doing a recent OU team project made me realise that my old job had given me skills useful in science, such as: team-working, presentation, planning, and research.

What advice would you give to anyone considering studying science with the OU?

Until I started, I did not know how much I could achieve.  Always following the advice of my tutors, though, has been my main rule to get through each OU learning level. Capturing some of their enthusiasm and knowledge will help take you a long way in the subject that you really like.

Interview updated Nov 2015

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