Easter

Three weeks off then two more teaching weeks and my Undergraduate degree is complete. I’ve been accepted onto the Masters programme so I’ll be back in September as long as I pass everything. Easter break is hardly a break though, we have a lot of work to do.

Harry came with me to the library on campus last week and we ended up feeding the ducks, was a really nice day and he posed for some pics.

 Oh and I officially graduate Monday July 16th at 10:30, excited. The list is on the Go Portal for anyone in third year and not knowing 🙂

Enjoy the rest of Easter.

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Inclusive Services: Part 4

My experience with Inclusive Services has been more than positive. I approached them myself before I began studying my Undergraduate degree because I knew I’d need some sort of support. I completed a DSA form and within a few weeks had a Needs Assessment. This was an informal chat discussing the type of support, equipment and software that would assist me in my studies. It lasted for about an hour and the assessor talked me through different types of strategies and aids that could be put in place to suit my particular needs. It was a huge weight lifted from my shoulders and I no longer needed to worry about how I’d cope with University.

I was mainly worried about exams – how was I going to sit in the same position for two hours with nonstop writing? This was easily dealt with, I do an alternative assessment.

Since then I’ve had contact with Dan regarding assessments, illness and informal chats to see how I’m coping. Each time I’m on campus I see either Helen or Sally because they attend lectures/seminars to take notes for me then type them up later and email it to me. Due to my joint condition I can’t take notes all the time as my hands get very sore so it is extremely beneficial to know they are there to assist me and I won’t miss any vital information.

Inclusive Services has been a crucial part of my University life and I’m extremely grateful for all they have done. It’s hard enough having a disability but the Inclusion Team supported me whenever I needed it and made it less of a struggle. They didn’t take away my pain or cure me but they helped me cope with the essential concerns I had.

I hope this has been informative and if you have any questions pop into the SIC, there is always someone available to talk to, or drop a note to me and I’ll see if I can help.

Sarah.

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Inclusive Services: Part 3

Taking up from my previous blog, this post will look at the role of a Learning Facilitator at Edge Hill University. I have had Learning Facilitators (LF’s) support me since first year and can’t even begin to describe the enormity of how amazing they are.

My LF’s at the moment are Helen Smith and Sally Walker and I wanted to know exactly what type of support they offer. I was shocked to discover that each day is different for them as timetables change and if an issue arises they try to deal with them straight away. If a student goes to an LF with a crisis, they are priority.

The type of support offered is extremely diverse and includes; note taking, sign language interpretation, guidance, social skills, practical support, study skills, as well as transitional support for students with autism. LF’s also liaise with tutors regarding students to make them aware of certain matters concerning the student.

Like Dan, Sally and Helen also mentioned the stigma surrounding disabilities; people tend to just think of physical disability but it varies from learning to social as well as physical. However they both promote the services within faculties and set up a stall on Open Days for students who think they may need some extra support.

As great as they are, they don’t do everything. It is up to the student to do their own work and the LF to help as best as they can.

Edge Hill employ 25 Learning Facilitators and each of them work with approximately 1-9 students. The hours per week vary but they generally end up taking work home with them. There is not enough recognition for the outstanding work they do. There is no manual for their job they just have to be adaptable and both expressed how great the team they work with are as they all share ideas and strategies.

Both Helen and Sally love their job and deemed it as satisfying and rewarding and take great joy when their students achieve well, grow in confidence and graduate. As well as this, they learn new subjects by attending lectures/seminars.

I am eternally grateful for the support they have given me over the years and am positive many other students appreciate them as much as I do.

Next week, I’ll be posting about my experience with Inclusive Services.

Sarah.

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Inclusive Services: Part 2

I’d be lost without Inclusive Services at Edge Hill and I thought it would be useful to find out exactly what they do. I met with Daniel Robinson, an Inclusion Officer to get to know a bit more about his role.

I have known Dan for my whole three years at Edge Hill and he’s a really down to earth, approachable person. If I have any concerns, he’s usually one of the first people I contact.

Dan explained to me that to get in touch with Inclusive Services the student is generally signposted by a member of the academic staff or the student takes it upon themselves to see them; which is what I did, I knew I’d need some sort of assistance so sought out some advice.
He first asks students how they’re doing and is not interested in doctors’ diagnosis because the name of an illness does not explain what type of support the student needs. This is what he is interested in; he wants to know what type of assistance the student thinks they need then tells them what they can do.  The, ‘I can’t do this’ attitude will not make you feel any better but Dan and the rest of the team will analyse exactly what you can do and then fill in the gaps.
The amount of support will also be taken into consideration and some students can be unrealistic, but the Inclusion Team will help the student become aware of the drop when they eventually leave University and be less dependent on support using various strategies.

For new students University is a huge change but Dan believes if you manage your condition and be in control of it; be ready for change as it is going to be tough the Inclusion Team will meet you halfway.
The Transition Project includes orienteering, anxiety about leaving home and meeting new friends as well as academic support. This is available to students pre-entry.

But are the departments aware of Inclusive Services or not? Tutors should be alerted when students’ attention, attendance, and work are on a decline and signpost them to the Inclusion Team. The earlier a student visits Inclusive Services the better but for some reason people avoid help and then require it in second/third year when they could have had it since the beginning of their degree. Many people think that utilizing the service means that ‘you have something wrong with you’ and that is not the case.

The team also has 25 learning facilitators and sometimes require agency staff to help out. I’ll be blogging more about learning facilitators next time.

Inclusive Services is also available for academic staff if they have queries regarding a student and need advice on reasonable adjustment.

The team work closely with Academic Registry and have to be aware to signpost the appropriate people to various departments, such as, Health and Wellbeing; Counselling; Financial Services; and Accommodation.

Dan is incredibly enthusiastic about his job and said he gets great satisfaction when a student graduates. He also hopes to change the mindset of those who think that you need to have ‘something wrong’ to visit the Inclusion Team.

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) (http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/EducationAndTraining/HigherEducation/DG_10034898) is based on the students needs and provides disabled students with extra financial help.

I’d like to thank Dan for his ongoing support and for hopefully opening the eyes of prospective students to the work of the Inclusion Team.

Sarah.

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Inclusive Services: Part 1

Inclusive Services is situated in the Student Information Centre next to the Library.
They have there own page on EHU’s website detailing the type of work they do http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/studentservices/disability/index.htm

 However over the next few weeks I intend on blogging about Dan Robinson – Inclusion Officer; Sally Walker and Helen Smith – Learning Facilitators and my own experience with the Inclusion Team, so please keep checking back 🙂

Thanks,

Sarah.

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This Week

It’s Independent Study Week this week and I’m intending on taking full advantage of the time I have. I have two assignments to complete and a sample chapter of my dissertation. Whoever said third year was easy was far from correct.
Just been to the library and discovered that I already had 13 books out so could only get two more. Oh well, I’ll find a way.

A few weeks back I mentioned I was going to write a sequence of blogs regarding the Inclusion team and I’m going to start that next week so please check back because it’s a lot of good information.

Hope everyone is well,

 

Sarah.

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New Student Concerns.

It’s always daunting starting somewhere new and University has got to be one of the biggest steps someone can take. It’s a lengthy process and it takes up a full three years of your life. It’s worth it though. I can’t express that enough.

However some vital questions I was concerned with before starting involved:

  1. Will I fit in/Will I be accepted?
  2. How will I find my way around?
  3. Will I be able to handle the amount of work?
  4. What support is available for people with disabilities?

I talked to friends/family and even visited Edge Hill before starting to dissolve some of the anxieties I had.

  1. Everyone is in the same position. Of course there may be some people who have friends attending the same university but the majority of you will be strangers to each other. During the first week, there will be a mixer were you can meet people doing the same course and get to know tutors etc. However, if you’re unable to go to that, you’ll have people introducing themselves and vice versa because everyone wants to make friends. And of course you’ll be accepted, everyone always is.
  2. The campus is vast and at first you may get lost on occasion but there’s campus maps available online and once you can work out which building is which, it’s pretty easy. It’ll probably take a few weeks but you’ll soon become familiar with the place. A campus tour on Open Days are always beneficial too. It’s the same with Ormskirk town, it’s quaint and if you wander around if for a few hours it’ll soon sink in where everything is.
  3. The amount of work takes some getting used to. I’m in third year and still coming to terms with it. As long as you give yourself plenty of time, research and talk to tutors about your concerns, everything will be okay.
  4. The Inclusion Team and Learning Edge are marvellous. If you have any type of learning difficulty or disability go and speak to someone about it as soon as possible and they’ll assist you as best they can.

I really hope this helps. I’d have appreciated it if someone gave me a list of answers before I began University. If you have any concerns or queries, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment on here or contact me via Twitter.

 

Sarah.

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I’m back.

I first must apologise for my lack of communication the past few weeks, I was going through some things and unable to access my blog. But I’m back now and all is well.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year. It feels like it was so long ago now. I had a good one, it was quiet and family oriented which is the best way I think.

I turned 25 a few weeks ago, or as my friends keep saying, ‘nearly thirty’ or ‘quarter of a century’ which I’m not too thrilled about! I had a lovely birthday, went out with my boyfriend and my friends for a meal and then was surprised by a cake and the whole restaurant grinning at me when the Birthday music played…almost died of embarrassment but it was fun.

I also went to the Alice in Wonderland exhibition at the Tate in Liverpool two weeks ago. They had so much on display, I was slightly awestricken. There was two floors and the second floor was spectacular. They had original drawings and manuscripts, so much art and sculptures. It was really interesting. The exhibition closed on the 29th of January so don’t go turning up there because it’s gone.

Other than spending a lot of time with my wonderful friends and writing my dissertation and constant reading, I haven’t been up to much; not that I’ve had time for anything else. I’ve been back at Edge Hill for three weeks and it’s gone so fast. I can’t believe I have just less than three months left.

On another note, I’ve applied for the Masters in English. Writing a personal statement isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I did end up deleting my first paragraph approximately six times before I was happy with it though.

Anyway, Dorian Gray is calling me. Take care,

 

Sarah.

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Puppy Love

 

 

Diesel (the bigger one) and Shadow (the little evil one, don’t be deceived by his cute face) are my brothers dogs. I absolutely love the both of them and since moving out miss them more than my family. It’s quite sad I know but they’re gorgeous. They’re extremely well-trained and obey every command, like all good boys should 😛 I was deeply considering getting a dog as I miss them lots but have decided against it as I’m hardly home that much. Perhaps once my degree is over I’ll get one!

Anyway, I haven’t been too well this week and spent all of Saturday in A&E. I won’t depress you with the details as it’s nearly Christmas but I’m okay, kind of.
Only one more week to go and then it’s the Christmas holidays 😀

Enjoy!

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Advent

Can you believe it’s nearly Christmas already? Only 20 days to go! I don’t usually get excited over Christmas but the child in me has wormed it’s way out and is beating away the Scrooge-esque part of me. I’m going to purchase a Christmas tree tomorrow *insert grin here*
I haven’t finished buying all my presents yet but I have them all in mind and they will be hidden in the flat by the end of next week. I tend to go slightly overboard when buying presents but I’m trying to rein it in this year. I’ve got my friends theirs and I have a sneaky feeling they may all adore me once seeing them 😛
I’m just arranging a get together with them all so we can exchange gifts and go for a meal/party-thing.

This week I haven’t got too much on. Tomorrow I’m going to Southport to see the wonderful Jack, we’ll probably do a bit of shopping and have a fabulous day…hopefully I’ll get my ear pierced in the process, although not by him lol. I was intending on spending the whole day with him but I have a doctors appointment in the evening and need to get back for that 🙁 Wednesday and Thursday I’m writing some more of my dissertation because next week we have to have 2,000 words of it submitted. And Friday morning I have a meeting with someone in the S.I.C. to give me some advice for applying for my Masters. My application is almost complete, I just need to write my personal statement and I’m getting some advice on how to go about it. *Fingers crossed* I get accepted.
Then I have one more week of lectures/seminars and break up for Christmas. Yay!

Sarah.

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