A year in the life of a student parent


Coursework graded, exams completed, official end of academic year reached, and thus my first year of university comes to an end.

So it feels like a good time to reflect back on the last year and all that has brought me to where I am now. A year of ups and downs, huge changes and adaptions, new friendships and old, and a lot of hard work.

It seems like a different lifetime now, but this time a year ago I was just finishing my access course. I had not long split from my husband, escaping years of mental abuse and finding my own two feet, whilst comforting my children through all the change. Despite this, I still completed the course with full distinctions and held 5 separate offers from universities. The world was my oyster, I even had an offer from Southampton for an inclusive masters.

It took me a long time to decide on what to do next, I had originally had my sights set on Exeter. But over time, for a variety of reasons, I eventually settled on Plymouth, originally planning to commute so not having to move or change the kids routines. However it quickly became clear that this would not be as viable as I hoped. Wrap around care wasn’t available for the long hours I needed and all the driving back and forth was taking its toll (and cost!). So I moved, in the first week of term, to our new home and new life.

It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Yes it was hard work, the actual move was riddled with problems and trials, settling in took forever and my work suffered at times, but I wouldn’t change it. I love our home and everything is now in place. I am also close to my mum now, who I just owe so much to. She is my best friend and my rock, I love her more than words can express.

University has been a rollercoaster of emotions and learning curves. One of my first fears was making friends, I have never been very good at this anyway and as a mature student to boot I was terrified. But I have been so lucky and have the most amazing group of friends now, a group of people I am truly blessed to know.

Learning to study self sufficiently and around children has been hard, and I think my first year has suffered for it. This couple with all the changes and with my condition on top, I have had a lot to contend with. However I am hoping I can take these experiences and go forward into the next few years better.

In truth I could probably write several posts about the experiences of the last year so I wont go into great detail anymore before I bore you all to tears!

I have learned so much, and experienced a great many things, from helping set up a mature students society and becoming their treasurer, to becoming course rep, which has been a great pleasure and one I hope to continue. I am now also a course ambassador, promoting the course at open days and am soon to train to be an access PALs mentor.

In reality I have achieved a lot, despite being a single mum, despite my battles against fibromyalgia, and I guess I should give myself some credit.

But yeah that will probably never happen! xxx

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