Disabled student diaries 2009
Charlotte's diary (disabled student diaries 2009)
Saturday 26th September, 2009
The only small consolation, was that everyone would be in the same boat, or so I thought, but even at this early stage most people seemed to be gelling better than me. This has been made worse by the fact I had only just met two of my three new carers. Despite my mum staying around in a accommodation next to my flat for the first two weeks to help train them they are still going to be heavily reliant on my advice and instruction whilst I get used to my new surroundings at the same time. I find this extremely scary. I am starting to wonder if I am really cut out for uni.
Sunday 27th September, 2009
My third and final carer arrived this evening. She seems rather kooky but in a good way. I decided to go to the “Jungle Party” this evening. I went as a leopard and although I thought I looked quite good my outfit wasn’t as innovative as others. Eg. Some boys covered themselves entirely in leaves to become makeshift trees! I felt the party was good as I bonded with my carers a lot more. However I did become increasingly self conscious as the crowds thickened as I wasn’t sure if I would be in the way. In spite of having a good night I am still in two minds on whether I like it here.
Monday 28th September, 2009
This afternoon I attended a talk regarding my major subject of Film and Cultural Studies. The course sounds more perfect than I could have ever hoped for despite the lecturer overseeing it having the kind of voice that could send even the most vibrant of people to sleep. However I think that when you are passionate enough about something it should take more than that to dampen ones enthusiasm. However this is only one plus against a much larger number of negatives. I know it is still early days but I need to know that if I am going to truly succeed here I must be happy in every aspect of my university life and right now I am not. Yet, when I think about how much time and effort has been undertaken by so many people to get me here and how disappointed so many would be if I left this makes me feel even more guilty to be having such doubts.
Tuesday 29th September, 2009
The problem of the day was we got the rooms and the times of the talks mixed up and so arrived at the Sociology talk just as it finished. EPIC FAIL! But all was not lost as we had a chat with the course tutor for a few minutes after everyone had gone.
In order to get to know people I ventured into the kitchen in the flat next door along with some of my own flatmates who were having pre -night out drinks. I felt quite left out as everybody was playing drinking games and my mum had instructed my carers not to let me drink too much. Although my carers are keen to please her and do what she says I also think they should have more sympathy towards me and what it’s like to be young and want me to fit in as much as possible. Ok, I may get a massive hangover but I have already had to miss out on so many normal things that teenagers do and this would be yet something else to add to the list. Screw personal safety that’s what I say, well that’s how I feel sometimes! This put a large dampner on my mood until one of my German carers got confused between the pronunciation of the creature “slug” and “slag” a derogatory term for certain women. Very funny.
Wednesday 30th September, 2009
When it reached a more sensible hour, it was time to enrol on my Minor courses. This didn't take too long. I still don’t feel 100% confident about being here. I feel I am coming here for the degree rather than the social life which is what most people are here for. I don’t want to be seen as an outsider. I feel I have been an outsider for long enough and it’s time for change which is why I decided to get involved with the student radio station ...
I wanted to join that group because it relates to my degree, you get to meet a lot of new people and it’s something I have never tried before. The radio experience will give me a chance to see if it could be a potential career path.
That evening I went to the “open mike night” in our college bar. None of the students performed too well in my opinion. The MC and his band did a few numbers – the guitarist was awesome.
Thursday 31st September, 2009
I enrolled in the clubs and societies today. The ones I liked the best are the afore mentioned Student Radio Station and the Christian Union. The problem of the day was that the hall was swimming with people by the time I got there with my carer so I felt a little daunted and my carer wanted to do everything herself which kind of defeats the object of me becoming independent. I think I need to become much more assertive.
Monday 5th October, 2009
Tuesday 6th October, 2009
Wednesday 7th October, 2009
This afternoon marked my first meeting with the music team for Baillrigg. I found this enjoyable as it means that I get to listen to new music releases before most other people. However I find it slightly annoying that record companies seem to think that students are all into indie and/or heavy rock.
I like indie as much as the next person, in fact some of the best music ever written falls into that category. But I just feel that if they want to increase listening figures the music library should reflect the eclectic mix of people here at Lancaster. OK, fair enough if the uni doesn’t have the budget to play more commercial records but nevertheless I think they should try to cater for every kind of student.
Thursday 8th October, 2009
To top it all, my mum has left today, so I am now completely and officially alone in what are still relatively new surroundings. BAD TIMES! I cheered up though when I saw last week's diary on the Ouch! website. I loved the introduction video, too. I think they have done a good job on it.
Friday 9th October, 2009
I had a visit from Phil the computer man this afternoon. I spent the afternoon reading a comical passage about how to be a bad business manager. The extract was so long though that I thought it would never end. Interestingly, in the middle of the session I got a call from the folks at Ouch! A reporter from BBC Radio Lancashire was in the area and wanted to do an interview with me about my experiences that would be played out on air.
I accepted without hesitation. The more exposure for the project the better. And a little for yourself doesn’t hurt either. I was worried that my voice wouldn’t pick up well on air, but luckily when I listen back to it, it sounded fine. Oh well, it’s not Key 103, but I suppose everyone has to start somewhere. Besides I wanted to put off the prospect of the slog that lay ahead for as long as possible.
Saturday 10th October, 2009
I know it’s still early days and most of my fellow students will probably encounter this problem too and I don’t know how much help lecturers/seminar tutors are supposed to give. I will never be an academic writer. You can count on that! The sentences are too long winded. The expectations and standard of academic material here is another point to add to what is fast becoming a sea of negatives surrounding my university experience.
I know things are supposed to step up a gear once you start at university. I just didn’t expect things to get quite so challenging so fast. Furthermore the stories I have heard since coming here about students staying up till 2am to finish reading is another minus point. I was always told never to push too hard and to get the right balance although I know I have been guilty of that countless times. But risking your health and possibly your sanity in order to attain a piece of paper at the end of your three years in one sense seems rather pointless.
People say it’s all about balance and I without being boastful consider myself a good time manager. But even I don’t know how I will cope with this. I want to achieve as well as I can and be the best, but not at the expense of my health or the risk that my personality should change for the worse. Yet I am still acutely aware of the opportunities that the university could offer me if I stayed and how mundane and monotonous my life will become if I choose to leave the institution.
Sunday 11th October, 2009
When I got home I did some background reading into what might be covered in my lectures tomorrow. I feel like I haven’t done much in the way of academic studying yet. But like I said yesterday the standard and expectation set here are phenomenal and I am still not sure whether I can truly cope with them. However my mum made me feel a little better and made me realise that I was trying a bit too hard like always.
So me and the carers have decided to have a One Tree Hill night! I am only in the middle of the third out of seven seasons and the other carers have never watched an episode. The storylines are so complex I just hope they grasp the plot easily.
On a completely different note I was sad to hear about the death of my first ever celebrity crush - Stephen Gately. I first developed a crush on him when I saw Boyzone in concert at the tender age of eight years old. I remember crying for hours when I found out he was gay. As it meant that I couldn’t ACTUALLY marry him. I seem to have a particularly strong tendency to fall for gay people as my next crush was H from the legendary pop group Steps. Hopefully, that won’t continue and there is a chance for me to become Mrs DiCaprio yet.
Monday 12th October, 2009
But the unfamiliarity and the awkwardness I feel here is proving quite too much to bear (I’m not being over dramatic). To any potential university goers reading this, this is probably not what Ouch! wanted you to read. They wanted me to elaborate on initial problems I might have had, but might have expected things to have calmed down by now. Well the truth is they haven’t.
At the end of the day it's YOUR FUTURE AND YOUR HAPPINESS that hangs in the balance and hopefully because your parents love and care for you they will support you in whatever direction you choose to go. Just because you may not go to uni doesn't mean you can't have a happy and successful life. I think my mum thinks that it's the end of the world at the moment as I've expressed my feelings to her, but trust me, if I go home I'll be scouring those job websites just like a dog sniffs out blood ... just like everyone else. So I am still “Should I stay or should I go”?
Tuesday 13th October, 2009
Wednesday 14th October, 2009
So unfortunately my parents, and now my new carers, seem to get the brunt of it when I feel angry. Nevertheless it is frustrating.
Another slightly annoying thing happened today when I accidently deleted all of the 842 songs on my iPod. Luckily I manage to retrieve a large majority of them and there had been quite a few that I want to delete anyway, so hopefully the iPod has done it for me.
Thursday 15th October, 2009
Mum came today for the first time since she finished her two weeks training of my carers. Of course I missed her, but not as much as she missed me. I’m relishing the freedom, but we had a long talk about my on-going dilemma about whether to stay or not.
In the evening myself and Elaine went to watch a screening of the film “Coraline” at the university’s cinema. I didn’t want to go to see it that much when it was a new film back in May, but it looked a damn sight better than the other films on show this week. I even saw my new friend Sally from Bailrigg there. The animation in the film was really good, but the story line was way too scary to be classified a PG in my opinion or maybe I am a super “wuss”. It was nice to see Terri Hatcher playing a more sinister and evil character compared to usual dizzy roles, so all in all a pleasant evening.
Friday 16th October, 2009
After our tea, me, my carers and our dinner guests went down to County Bar for a quiet drink. Well, it would have been quiet if the music coming from the speakers hadn't been Meat Loaf or had been played at a quieter level.
After a while, my new friends from my own flat and the one next door, Hannah, Jess, Nathalie and Rachel came to the bar to talk to us in the middle of their own mini pub crawl. It was very funny when Hannah couldn't understand the accent of one of the other carers, Shelley. She's quite well spoken so thought her name was Chalet - like something you would stay in on a skiing holiday. She only realised the real word when she explained her name was the same as Barbie's niece. Very funny! I think life is starting to look a little rosier here.
Saturday 17th October, 2009
And guess what the rest of my day has consisted of? Guess! You got it. Reading. Yay! With the occasional chocolate break which makes it slightly more bearable. We also had an excellent dinner of Chinese - yummy!
Sunday 18th October, 2009
I am looking forward to dinner tonight as some other CSV volunteers are coming to have the meal with us. Today is my grandma’s 85th birthday and my parents are away in Scotland for this weekend to help her celebrate. She is a tough old bird and I am very proud of her as are all my family. In fact, today is the birthday of at least three people I know - so Happy Birthday to my grandma, St Luke ... and don’t worry, Zac Effron, your cake and card are in the post. You can thank me later!
Monday,19th October, 2009
Tuesday 20th October, 2009
I know and respect that they stepped back, but in this case I feel I made a horrible decision. It's all coming back to the constant dilemma of the opportunities Lancaster University can give me versus how pressurized it is and how out of sync I feel socially, compared to others. I really can't get the balance between working and leisure time.
Lancaster Uni is a great institution. I can see that but I am just not sure if it is the one for me and yet the ones closer to home are lower down the league tables and I can't afford to risk the chance of a good job or a good education. My mum has offered to come with me to see the personal tutor I've been assigned here, at least about the workload. I don't mind going but I don't want my mum to come. It'll be just like a Parent Teacher meeting back at school and I can't expect her to hold my hand and do things for me all the time. I need to assert myself because one day she won't be around. Basically to sum up today's entry, I am stuck in the same rut but I have absolutely no idea how to get out.
Wednesday 21st October, 2009
The track we listened to was a cover of the Nat King Cole hit When I fall in Love but it had a really Disney-ish intro. Not exactly something I would listen to while getting ready to go out. I have the version that X-factor contestant Andy Abraham sings on my Ipod and that is a million times better. Janna, my carer, took home a CD of seriously BAD house music that no one else wanted, because she wanted to torture me with that. I was powerless to resist her as obviously I can't move.
Thursday 22nd October, 2009
I guess you could say she has been a pretty big influence, not only whilst I have been here, but also during my whole life. My aunts and uncles didn't have much growing up, so it's taught me to be appreciative of the little things and to be happy because of what you do have. I am not a quitter by nature. I know it may be hard, but if I achieve really well here particularly in film and culture and get in with the best people, just think where I could be in 4-5 years.
I admire all the people within the industry who haven't quit in the face of adversity and are powerhouses at what they do, but are nice people with it and use their prestige constructively to help other people. And that's all I ever want to do with the career path that I choose.
I want particularly to help young girls with disabilities to be comfortable within their own skins and not be as unhappy as I was throughout much of my teen years. And I also want people who don’t have such problems to be less intimidated by people like me and learn to appreciate them as normal.
In a bizarre stroke of luck today, I had an email from the senior tutor for County College asking whether he could meet me to discuss how uni has gone so far. So I am going to meet him tomorrow and hopefully things will truly start to get better.
Friday 23rd October, 2009
So this knot I have found myself in since starting here is slowly starting to unwind. Phew! I feel I am getting along better with the people in my Gender and Women’s Studies seminar group.
Saturday 24th October, 2009
I've never owned a personal diary before or had close enough friends to talk about stuff like this with. At times I've considered doing a Taylor Swift and writing songs about stuff that has happened to me but all the ideas I come up with for melodies and such sound too much like other artists' songs and I can't sing very well. So there goes that theory!
Sunday 25th October, 2009
I suppose the biggest thing I have had to face as a result of coming here is the independence factor. I have never had to do so much for myself before and that aspect still scares me a little but it's good to know that my carers and other people are there for support when I need them. You will have all gathered from previous posts that my social life hasn’t got off to a flourishing start here either and perhaps that’s partly been my own fault. My advice to those worried about making friends is talk to everyone you meet, even if it's just to complain about the weather, and get involved with as many clubs and societies as possible. You will feel much more included and at home.
On a positive note I am going to go to the pub quiz tonight with some of my flatmates and people from next door. We will form a massive alliance so we can hopefully WIN. I see this as a small step in the right direction. I am starting to gel with my flatmates a bit more I think.
I am now more at ease with my living space than I was when I first got here. At first, I felt like the Uni was situated in the middle of nowhere but now I have seen that Lancaster provides all that a student could ever need, right here on campus; I think it is quite wonderful. I am keen to venture out into the surrounding cities more though at some point.
I guess all that remains for me to do is to thank whoever has read it for reading it. I hope you have found it enjoyable, interesting and informative.
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