I started studying at the end of 2009 when I got the inspiration from watching the very new tv program Who Do You Think You Are? On SBS. I was reading the forums and they suggested study at Armidale’s University of New England. I applied for the Advanced Diploma in Local, Family and Applied History or ADLFAH as it is affectionately known. I was someone who had no ambitions for university once I had left school and couldn’t even write at a university level especially when I basically finished school around 2000. At the time I thought I could do this and use the degree for a better job, maybe. I wanted to learn more about family history.
During that time, I had changed direction by transferring to Bachelor of Historical Inquiry and Practice in 2012. I thought at the time a bachelor’s degree would be worth way more than a diploma. I have been working at the same time as trying to do my degree and it has worked out really well. I could balance both especially when I worked part time for Coles. I learnt to balance especially when doing two subjects at the same time was very tough, but in the end it all worked out.
2018 I was happy to see as I would be doing my last two subjects and they were huge subjects. One was a personal research project where I decided to look at the New Zealand Wars from the Militia and Volunteers who served. I had been going full on with the research and reading material since the end of the year in 2017. That was the main part of my trip to New Zealand to gather records I wanted to use. I was relieved once I had finished that subject with a lecturer as my supervisor. The end of October meant I would either pass or fail my last subject and I was happy for my last essay to get 55%. That meant I had passed everything and would be graduating in December.
It was not a bed of roses the whole time as I had life get in the way and I studied at home without having to step foot in Armidale, although twice I have ventured into the town to meet other students and have made some really good friends through the establishment. There were times that I did struggle, but with a little bit of help from friends I was able to get through those struggle times and have ventured into unchartered territory where I have now passed all subjects. I have learnt you cannot copy old assignments and use them in other subjects or else you will be caught. At least I know the system works. I have seen changes since the time I joined as we went from a study system called Blackboard to Moodle, From semesters to Trimesters that meant shorter time spans of study, essays being mailed back to now being posted online with marks and comments.
I have now been with Coles for over 10 years so that means I will basically stay where I am especially when it is a stable job and there seems to always be job cuts in the history arena like libraries and archives. I have read more about modern history than I have about family history, but it has helped with my family tree writing especially the blogs and articles I have published in family tree magazines. I have found some places that have gotten my interest through study like cemetery wanderings My focus has always been on modernish history from the 1800s onwards as ancient history hasn’t really interested me. I will learn more about some parts like the Tudors and Plantagenets as I know little about them. As a reward for my hard work, I am going overseas on holiday next year to visit some good European museums. Would I study again through university? Sure, but not for a while as I have been going since 2009 and feel that I have become worn out by the extended time of long term study. Not being in a university setting means I have a bit of freedom and not have to be anywhere by the start of a trimester for study and can travel overseas.
My last subject was about World War One and memory, which I actually used as a tour guide to look at locations for the next big trip away. It has worked and I completed the subject. In the last year I have also known procrastination as I have read a few novels instead of the actual research. I have actually read the current series of Jack Reacher novels and started on the Mortal Engines novels. Can I say there are at least 20 books by Lee Child, but I do have books that I plan to read in my bookcase that I have not been able to get to. Now I can.
I will post my other blogs below
Literature review on Militia and Volunteers in New Zealand
Technological change during World War One