As previously mentioned, I have now finished my first year at university so, seen as I mention university a lot throughout my posts I thought I’d reflect on my first year to give you some insight on my experiences this past year. But first, I’d just like to say how I can’t believe that I am writing this blog already, well, I could have even written it a month ago! How scary is that? I still feel like a new student! Speaking of how fast time is going last week marked 6 months of Not So Terrible Palsy, now that has gone fast!
I’ve always known that I wanted to go to university from a young age and when I saw photos of my older cousin’s graduating I knew then, that, I wanted to wear my own gap and gown one day. So, when university finally came around in September 2018 although I was nervous, I was certainly more excited as it felt like I’d been waiting for the day to arrive ever since I saw my cousin’s graduation photos! I remember being sat in the lecture theatre thinking I can’t believe that I’m sat here and to be quite honest when I sat in a lecture theatre now, I’m still in disbelief.
However, as I said, there was still a lot of nerves and I still had a few worries as I’ve previously discussed when talking about my wheelchair and placement. I also had worries about making friends because even though I’m a very sociable person I knew that due to my circumstances, I wouldn’t be able to make every night out. But the biggest worry was would I be able to cope with the work? Would I actually be able to do a degree? Which I know seems dramatic; I still had to be real with myself and face reality even if that would be the case. However, this question didn’t come from my own doing this question came from the doctor at my occupational health appointment which I had to have to ensure that I was fit to go to university. I remember him asking me all these questions such as ‘’What would happen if a patient asks you to do something that you can’t do?’’ and to be fair I do have to be realistic and seriously consider which job I want to go into within occupational therapy but I was very distressed after this appointment. This was because I’d been getting so excited about September so when this appointment didn’t turn out how I thought it would turn out I was quite disheartened.
I knew that I was going to struggle a lot more than an able-bodied person; I just had to be more prepared. I remember how daunting my induction day was and to be honest, I didn’t have the greatest day and felt really overwhelmed but then that changed at the end of that day when the lecturer came up to me and said ”Georgia don’t worry we are going to prepare for the hard parts”. This conversation meant a lot to me and was probably the highlight of my day that day. Following this my now lecturers had arranged a meeting with my mum and myself to plan ahead and from this a lot of my worries were dealt with including a big one about not being able to do certain practical elements in which it was decided that before any practical lessons I would have a practice first on my own to save me some embarrassment. This was the perfect solution! For example, as part of my preparation for placement, I have to undertake mandatory training and as part of this, skills such as manual handling are required so, it was fair to say that I was pretty nervous starting the course off with something that I may not even be able to do. But my worries were completely taken care of as we’d come up with a plan to have a go at the manual handling by myself first which made me feel so much more at ease because I knew what I was expecting when the time came to do it alongside my peers. I still can’t thank my lecturers enough for doing this. I wasn’t the best at it but with a few practices, I was improving!
I also was really worried about the workload… Would I have enough energy to make sure that my work was up to standard? My course is all assignment based which works best for me as I’m certainly that person that crumbles under the pressure of exams; I was still worried about being able to write high-quality assignments. I guess everyone has this worry but as I mentioned for me it was also about being able to cope with the workload making sure that all my assignments had the enough amount of time spent on them as it can take me twice as long some days depending on energy levels. Now that I’ve submitted and received feedback from all of my assignments, I am pleased with the work I have done. Some assignments are better than others, so I need to work on this therefore I have been doing a bit of work on these skills during my time off whilst I have time because come September it’ll be harder. I mention this so often but I have to know my body and I know it will be hard to take extra classes in September that’s why I’m doing it now whilst I have the time to put all my energy into it!
My last worry was about living the ‘student life’ which I have mentioned a few times before. I was never worried about making friends one because I’m very sociable and can talk to anyone and two because the course was occupational therapy so, if people weren’t going to befriend me because I’m disabled, they should probably reconsider their degree. I made friends fine and I get along with everyone on the course I mean I don’t talk to everyone but not because we don’t get along but because that’s life. However, this still didn’t stop me worrying about trying to live to ‘student life’ knowing that I live a 20-minute car journey away from the rest of my friends. But as far I’m concerned this hasn’t affected me that much, to say it hasn’t affected me at all would be a lie as I’ve previously talked about; this isn’t because I don’t get invited.
Overall, I feel very fortunate to have had the most amazing first year of university which is full of memories from some great times both in and outside university. My worries a year ago now seem so small I will always worry about my work at university because that’s the person I am but apart from that everything else didn’t seem worth the stress. University will always be harder for me than an able-bodied person because that’s the way the world was designed but it still doesn’t stop me from loving it because I certainly love what I do. Roll on second year!
Thank you for reading,