Open degree - student stories
Adam Chandler, Film Maker and owner of Reel Film
I left school with three A-levels and was offered a place at the University of Sunderland to study film and television production. I rejected the offer, however, and signed up for the OU instead, following a suggestion from an uncle of mine.
I chose to study with the OU because I wanted to do a degree and get some work experience at the same time; I knew OU study would make this possible. I opted for the BA (Hons) Open degree because it allowed me to choose from a wide range of modules to suit my personal and professional needs and aspirations. An additional factor was that, unlike some of my friends who’d gone to traditional universities, I wouldn’t be graduating having accumulated a lot of debt. Initially, I was able to fund my studies by means of a grant obtained through the University, but I’m now self-funded.
For me, the benefits of doing an Open degree have been massive. One of the modules I did was on web design. I was working for a small production company at the time and thanks to the content of that module I was able to fix a problem in-house, which resulted in me getting more work from the company. I also studied modules in accounting, marketing and project management and I’m able to apply what I learned in the day-to-day running of my company, Reel Film, which I founded in 2013. I also learned valuable time management skills with the OU; managing my time was something I found quite challenging to begin with. I’d go as far as saying that the company – which is thriving – wouldn’t be half as successful as it is today if I hadn’t done my degree with the OU. Although you get a lot of support as an OU student, you do learn to do things for yourself and for me this has translated into self-determination, an important life skill. I don’t think you graduate from a traditional university with the same skills.