Disability has not defined me or limited me in achieving the things I do, and I think has made me more determined and focused on achieving. I have adapted to changes I have had to make in terms of my career.
Before I had my head injury back in 2006, I had a career that really wasn’t my true vocation when I look back on my employment history. I worked in retail since I was 17 years old ranging from working in my parents’ shop, a petrol station, retail stores both in clothing and superstores. I also as a side-line created wedding dresses, prom dresses and altering various items such as home textiles and clothing.
These types of employment gave me skills that I am grateful for, my three main interests I have are anything linked to creativity-fashion, cake decorating, crafting, psychology and counselling.
Things happen for a reason
I do believe things happen for a reason and I believe the things that have happened to me have changed my course in my career path. I am currently studying a BSc in psychology and counselling through a distance learning university which I am close to finishing and graduating. I am very apprehensive about what will be the next step apart from carrying on to do my masters as well as gain employment in my chosen career path.
What my disability has taught me and learning to walk again
I have learnt so much about myself from having various disabilities and how to adapt, apart from my head injury, I am also partially deaf, suffer with balance issues due to ear infections, non-epileptic and dissociative seizures and I am currently suffering a back injury. I have the strength to overcome things I never thought I would. Amongst many health issues I have had since my head injury; learning to walk again with specialist physiotherapy (I still have to use a walking aid which doesn’t bother me), overcoming non epileptic seizures through doing my counselling and psychology course without medical help I have regained my independence. Having to adapt and work around situations when I had my daughter showed me that my disabilities can challenge a variety of different situations but can give you the determination to overcome and move forward.
I have other health issues as well but I don’t let anything or anyone define me due to my disabilities. This has happened a lot because of my age both after I had my accident at 24 and still does, but I have overcome this through growing emotionally and using the skills I have learnt on my course about self-worth and self-awareness. I still struggle sometimes with how I am viewed via my disability.
My time at university has been amazing and I am so grateful for all the support from my tutor, student support, disability advisor and the Disability Support Allowance (DSA) advisor and other sources of support in Wales. The support I have had especially when I have struggled with my health and emotional situations has enabled me to carry on with my studies through flexible extensions on assignment deadlines and module materials being sent to me. This has helped me keep up with the workload as I often have to go into hospital. I have had blips with my health but have managed to finish the modules and assignments with only two extensions.
Family support has been important at times I have struggled with lots of emotional things linked to module material and self-doubt. I had always dreamed of going to university when I was in my teens and early 20’s but life situations prevented me to go.
Looking back, I think my time is now to go for my dream as I don’t think I would have been at the right stage of my life to commit to university studies whilst going through different situations. I have learnt many skills through life, employment and even more now through going to university and studying.
Further support I have gained now I am getting closer to finishing my studies is through MyPlus Students’ Club. In terms of being confident into moving into the world of employment and looking at applying skills that I have gained both from education, and skills I have learnt from the disabilities I have and turning these into positives. Also, the blogs on the site have provided not just knowledge but also helped me to look at my disability in a positive way. The seminars online and information resources have given me so much information and helped me look at things from a different perspective. It has also helped me look at things I have missed within my C.V. giving me more knowledge and strategies of coping with interviews and applying for employment competently.
One thing I have learnt on this journey is that I wish I had found MyPlus sooner before I started university as I think it would have given me further support in adapting to studying at this level.
I have had an overall amazing positive experience of distance learning with a university. I found it hard to socially to connect with other students both within the module forums and social media platforms due to a lack of confidence in using them as I have always done courses at local colleges. I only engaged with my module forums when it was linked to the week’s study. Yet I found tutorials more engaging with students and tutors because they were live and I felt a better connection, we would chat about assignments and anything related to the subject. Even engaging with others on the MyPlus seminars has helped me feel connected socially but in a different way, if I had known about it sooner, I would have felt more confident to contribute to University forums and their social media groups.
The more support you have the greater confidence you will have in yourself
An individual’s dream, journey both in life, educationally and career goals is unique and special regardless of the path you take. It has taken guts and determination for me to get to where I am now and where I am headed in the future, after my degree. I think support and belief in yourself is the greatest strength in moving towards goals and fulfilling what you set out to do. It doesn’t matter the type of support whether it’s physical, educational or technological support through websites such as MyPlus. It all helps in different ways to achieve something and the more support you have the greater confidence you have in yourself.
At MyPlus Students’ Club we have a range of blogs related to this topic, to read further click on the relevant link below: