Many moons ago I was told off severely by a colleague for being modest. I had brushed off some praise and she was seriously angry at the rejection. I explained that was how I had been brought up, she said it was offensive.
A few months ago I had a 1-to-1 support session with someone in the Lancaster University Careers Team. She was helping me write a CV in the current fashion. When I told her about some of the entries and omissions she sat staring at me in silence, then asked why I did not have them in detail on my CV. I said they sound a bit like bragging, like showing off. She told me to stop being so modest and put down my achievements. But doing so does not come naturally.
I have had some more praise today. So this time I will document it.
My final Open University module, DD301 Critical Criminology, went well for me. I had an excellent tutor who was uncommonly wise about the module and happy to share his wisdom. But I also had some excellent guidance from a previous student of the module who dragged me from the wrong path I was taking into the light and showed me the way. Having received her insight into what the module was saying, and with the guidance I have had from OU students over the years, I got 90% in the final essay and 94% in the exam. This will not impress a STEM student, but this is social science at degree level where such marks are not common.
I returned the favour by joining the 2018/19 Facebook group for that module and passing on the advice I had received to the year that followed me. They sat their final exam today and it has been a glorious pleasure watching them take on board the material in the module, see the light and prepare themselves for the exam. They have worked together in an incredibly positive and mutually supportive way and I can tell from the what they say that they are going to get much higher exam marks than many of the people who attended the tutorials I went to when I was studying the module. They have not been asking silly questions but been buried deeply in the theories and how to apply them. When they have wandered off the rails or got confused, I tried to shine a torch toward the path I had followed.
I am no expert in the subject, much of it left me cold or did not ‘speak’ to me. But I got the concepts and could explain them and apply them, so I did. I also gave some of the essay tips and exam tips that students have been passing on for years – I cannot take the credit for any of that wisdom. I tried to tell them that after the exam:
I’ve been worried about all of you all afternoon.
I am not the only one who has stayed around to help, others did too.
And I did not do the TMAs. You all did.
And I did not do the learning. You all did.
And I did not actually discuss the material here. You all did.
And I did not do the revision. You all did.
And I did not do the exam. You all did. (Well, actually I failed it numerous times through the night in my sleep!)
Any advice I have given was given to me by OU students who went before. I merely passed it on.
Any practical tips I have given came from my tutor, who was better than most.
Any insight I have given into the subject came from the year before me who showed me the way.
Feel free to pass it all on to others, it was all given to me freely. I’m just the messenger.
But you did the work, not me.
You deserve the credit. You and your families who have supported you.
And remember: you haven’t failed until you have given up trying. And OU students like you are tough, are resilient and not quitters.
Celebrate. You’ve earned it. Nobody else.”
But I got some lovely feedback today, hence this post. For once, I shall cease to be modest and repeat some of what I have been told.
- “Simon Reed you’ve been such a star throughout this module and you’ve helped us all at one point or another”
- “A special mention to Simon Reed who, I think you’ll all agree, has been an amazing source of insight this year… Props to you for having the brain power to stick around and help other people after having completed this module, I think it’s made me brain dead for life 🤣”
- “I bet this afternoon was rather quiet for Simon. Just wanted to say a massive Thank You for all your input. You are a star x”
- “Yes thank you Simon Reed🤗🤗 I think we all owe you a drink!”
- “Simon Reed thank you sir! You dont realise the impact you have had but you have helped immeasurably! Mwah xx”
- “Simon Reed I have thanked A and B on their posts…they are stars too. You are way too modest. Yes we did all the work… but you kept us on track, made essay questions look like a walk in the park. I actually sat my exam worrying about you worrying.”
- “Simon. Top boy! Gracias Mon frere”
- “Simon Reed, you are a star and may you continue to shine brightly.”
- “Brilliant, thank you Simon for the help and support this year”
- “Good advice, thank you Simon Reed 😀”
There was much more, through the year. What lovely people. 🙂