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TX: 25.06.04 - END OF YEAR STUDENT DIARIES - PART 2

PRESENTER: LIZ BARCLAY AND WINIFRED ROBINSON
THE ATTACHED TRANSCRIPT WAS TYPED FROM A RECORDING AND NOT COPIED FROM AN ORIGINAL SCRIPT.  BECAUSE OF THE RISK OF MISHEARING AND THE DIFFICULTY IN SOME CASES OF IDENTIFYING INDIVIDUAL SPEAKERS, THE BBC CANNOT VOUCH FOR ITS COMPLETE ACCURACY.

BARCLAY
Ciaran Gilligan is at Manchester Metropolitan University studying English and creative writing and is a wheelchair user.  Sarah Butler is studying physiotherapy at Birmingham University and is visually impaired.  They've been compiling an audio diary of their first year at university and here's their end of year report.

BUTLER
My social life is amazing, it has never been better.  I've made tons of friends both in halls and on my course and I can honestly say my visual impairment has never been an issue. 
My friends are fantastic.  They always help me out in whatever way they can.  Basically little things - whispering sub-titles in my ear when they come on in films when we go to the cinema or sort of when we're in bars and clubs and stuff when they can see that I'm looking for them, I can't see them anywhere, they're like huge arm wave or they'll like scream my name across the bar or something.  And no one's bothered by doing those kinds of things, which is really reassuring.

GILLIGAN
For me lectures have gone really well, with lots of expert note taking being provided as well as additional typed notes directly from the lecturers and lots of brand new shiny LEA equipment being eventually delivered.
The lectures went really, really well.  Socially, obviously it's a little bit more hard work, in a lot of cases I've found that I've had my work cut out for me really in terms of getting people to see past what they view as disability and to look past whatever stereotypes they might have.  And it was difficult really becoming sort of accepted by people but it's like that for everyone at university and people come round eventually.

BUTLER
I've had the opportunity to get involved with various societies over the year.  My personal favourite has been with [indistinct name], no idea what it stands for but it's basically the Medical School musical theatre group.  I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to be in the Easter show. 
I was really pleased when I got a part in the Easter show because I genuinely didn't expect to get one and I was so nervous when I auditioned.  So it was amazing and it was great to be in front of a big crowd and all my friends came to see it and it was just great, it was absolutely fantastic.

GILLIGAN
The issue over accommodation has been something of an ongoing battle.  I've been trying since September to get the door on my bathroom converted to a sliding one, so as to make the room, as a whole, more manoeuvrable.  They finally put one in last month, which means I've been waiting eight months.
The stupid thing is at the end of June I'll be moving to a different halls of residence.  When they told me I could move in they said you'll have to wait till the end of June so we can sort your door out and put your grabbing in bars in and all the rest of it, which is fine - that's what they should be doing.  But that means after having taken eight months to put one sliding door in and a couple of grabbing bars, they're now going to move me but it'll take them two weeks to do it all again.  Which just makes me laugh.

BUTLER
My accommodation at uni is amazing.  It's self catered which has brought about some interesting incidents, mostly involving fish fingers and chips, although once I did dabble with a pasta bake. 
My room is lovely still, not too much damage although it could be difficult to tell under all the layers of crap that I've accumulated over the year, packing up could be an issue.  And who said visually impaired people have to be organised? 
Next year I'm moving out of halls with my friends, we're going to live in a little house in Sellyoak.  It's quite a nice house, not too much mould, windows and doors mostly in place, which is all good.  Also it's quite a lively location, there's lots of pubs, like 15 pubs and sort of all my friends are within a 10 minute radius, so next year should certainly be great fun.

GILLIGAN
Report card:  Exams - 8 out of 10. I think they went well but blind faith and minimalist revision technique may have only taken me so far.  Social life - 8 out of 10.  The most hyped aspect of uni life by far.  The start may be shaky but follow your instinct and you'll be happy.  Lectures - 6 out of 10.  Often boring by their very nature, although ample sleeping opportunity presents itself if you can make it to the back of the room.  Accommodation - 4 out of 10.  This one scores pretty low just for the fact that it is by far the biggest inconvenience of my student life.

BUTLER
Report card:  Exam - 8 out of 10.  Admittedly the drop in points is due to a poor mark at the beginning of the year but hey I'm writing so I get to choose.  Social life - 11 out of 10.  As I've already said time and time again it's amazing, really couldn't be happier if I tried.  Lectures - 5 out of 10.  Far too many of them for my liking.  Accommodation - 9 out of 10.  My halls are the envy of the university, unfortunately we do have an infestation of ants at the moment so I can't really give it full marks.

ROBINSON
Sarah Butler and Ciaran Gilligan.  It's a shame how education gets in the way of all that fun.  And we're pleased to say that Ciaran has now found out that he has passed his exams and he scored 67%.  You can read more of Sarah and Ciaran's diaries on the BBC website OUCH, for full details see our website. 



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