Freshers as a Disabled Student
University - The best years of your life?
When told people I was going to uni the amount of responses (usually from middle-aged people) who would tell me 'University is the best years of your life, you'll have a great time' It sets an expectation. You'd talk to older siblings or older friends and hear about this drinking culture of uni and the arguments about bins, but that's about it. I didn't ever really hear from a disabled student or from people telling me the struggles of uni, making friends, getting through freshers, finding housing, all that jazz- so I thought I'd make a little series of posts of things that might've helped me (even if I read them secretly and pretended I didn't need them!) No one gives you a handbook to uni- you're there to have fun (oh and to get a degree) so sometimes a little guidance helps particularly if you're a disabled student living away from home!
What are freshers?
Freshers are first-year students, Freshers week is a two-week period where new students settle into their universities and get to know one another. It’s an absolute madness for two weeks & for some is the most memorable few weeks of their university experience. For others, it’s incredibly anxiety- provoking.
I over-did freshers massively!
I went out every day for two weeks and my body then spent the next few months trying to catch up! Looking back I had the most amazing two- weeks.
After now completing my degree and chatting with friends (Side note- you don't have to be friends with the people you meet during freshers) Lots of my friends only went out once or twice and had a great time- others wished they went out more or less.
10 things to remember as a Disabled Student during Freshers :
Master how to pace, manage your energy levels well- save energy where you can, for example, your housemates or friends may get the bus or walk to places if that takes up too many of your spoons (which it does mine!) suggest driving or getting an Uber or Taxi. Chances
are everyone would be happy to chip in a few pounds to do so if it gets you out of the cold & saves your legs!
Get to know your flat online before you move in so you know a small amount about each other and have conversation topics. Also leaving your door propped open can be a great way to spark conversation when people move in.
Mum one- Remember alcohol consumption plus medication isn’t always the greatest of ideas, (not saying I didn't do it- my body just didn't like me- please be careful with how much you drink!
Avoid a flare up- don’t do anything you really don’t want to do or would cause a detrimental effect on your mental or physical health.
Know you may ha
ve a flare-up with your health during the early weeks of uni and have support in place as a precautionary measure. What with moving house, starting a new course, meetin
g new people and staying in a different bed, it’s no wonder you may be feeling rough. Stick it out and ask for help! Sometimes a little bit of fun is worth feeling a bit poorly but don’t make yourself ill to ‘fit in’. Having an emergency plan for the first few weeks is a good idea.
Know that many people don’t enjoy freshers week or freshers fortnight and that’s okay too! You might just be there to get your degree!
Have a list of accessible places- do some research before
You may want to meet with the disability team before you arrive and have a personal tour before you move in.
Being honest and open about your disability helps.
Go to Freshers fa
ir- you get free stuff (including food)
Freshers is only a snippet of uni
So most importantly - Have fun. Make the most of your time. You want to look back on your experience and smile!
Lauren (& Trish) x