After spending the last few months of my life in new surroundings a lot has been learnt on a personal level. The University experience has been worthwhile but more of a struggle than I expected at the start, with a number of different obstacles to overcome.
For anybody preparing to go to University, there will always be more to deal with than anticipated because of the challenges that only come to light upon arrival. Academically the work load and level has been a huge step up from A-Level studies and that should not be underestimated. Even doing Journalism, a subject I enjoy studying, there have been areas I have found less interesting than others. In this way University can act as a good stepping stone for life in general as in life not everything is going to prove enjoyable. Doing things you would prefer to avoid is part and parcel.
(Not only have there been educational challenges to face. Aclimatising myself to independent living in University accomodation has been a massive learning curve, like climbing up a steep hill where it’s best to keep looking up towards your target rather than down to where you started from. It seems obvious that the main aim of University should be getting a degree but for me this is one aspect. In fact, there are multiple aims that are of equivalent importance. As a trainee journalist learning how to write fast paced, efficient news articles is key for my professional future, but adapting to living away from home is crucial for building my independence.
Since I recently travelled by myself halfway around the globe to Oregon in the USA, I believed this would stand me in good stead for my latest challenge. However, I always knew during that particular venture I would be returning home at some stage. Of course I have returned home from University for the Christmas break, but getting used to the realisation that my life would now be in my own hands for the foreseeable future took a while. Moving only a short distance away from home to the University of Winchester, the transition from life at home to University life was not as smooth as I expected.
As I live with a serious physical condition, having the necessary medical equipment in place ready for when I arrived was paramount given the complexity of my needs. Apart from a few minor adjustments that would have to be made to my room the setup met most of my requirements. Finding the appropriate carers to offer me personal and academic support was what took the time. I would have been wrong to expect this situation to be perfect from day one though as I know from experience it is often just a case of trial and error when sifting through applications to find somebody who ticks all of the boxes. It was important for me to be patient and wait until the right individuals came along; people who were both easy to get on with and capable of dealing with the diverse nature of my care.
All the challenges I have had to contend with since the start of this new chapter have enabled me to grow into somebody with much greater self-confidence. Whatever goal you want to reach in life, however big or small, without facing any difficulties along the way, you are arguably no better prepared for the next challenge. At least now I can put the difficult experiences of the past into good use for the future. If the settling in period was a walk in the park, I would not have developed as a person. Looking back on how far I have come since September this has only been possible due to my struggles. For that I am grateful settling in to University has not proved easy.