Things University Has Taught Me

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well.

I am approaching the end of my degree, and my time at York St John University is coming to an end. It’s only a matter of weeks until my final assignments will be submitted and a matter of months until I graduate!

The last three years have been a bit of a whirlwind, there’s been some amazing times but also some rubbish times too, times where I’ve wanted to drop out but here I am! Going to university has taught me a lot so I wanted to share some of the things it’s taught me with you all.

I’d like to do more university related posts in the next few months so if you have any suggestions then please do send them my way! Feel free to leave them in the comments below or to contact me.

Without further ado let’s get into today’s post!

 

Having a disability is completely fine.

There are probably more people that have a disability at university than you realise so it’s completely normal. It’s not like mainstream school or college where there are very few disabled people and chances are you are the only one with a disability, university is completely different. There’s people from all walks of life at university, with a range of disabilities.

 

Being different is okay.

I think at university you reach a point where you realise that there’s no point being anyone but yourself.

 

Fight for what you need and what you’re entitled to.

If you need support such as Disabled Students Allowance then fight for it, if you’re struggling and need help, make sure you receive it. At university, people have your best interests at heart and the majority of them want to help you.

 

It’s ok not to be ok.

University can be an extremely stressful time and you can experience a rollercoaster of emotions. There is always someone out there that you can talk to and support is always available.

 

Life isn’t what you always expect.

This has most definitely been true for me over the last three years; I’ve changed my mind on what career I want a number of times which has completely thrown me off track at times. There was appoint in my second year of university where I didn’t even know if I was on the right course, I didn’t know what I was doing with my life basically. It wasn’t what I expected to happen at all, but I stuck with it, and here I am, about to (hopefully) graduate in a few months.

 

Independence is key.

Whether this is moving away from home, becoming more confident in using a cane, applying for a guide dog etc, taking those steps to independence is so important. This can often mean stepping out of your comfort zone and facing new challenges, but it’ll more than likely be worth it! Independence is different for everyone, so whatever it is you do, be proud of yourself because it’ll help you in the long run.

 

Drama still exists.

If you thought you left those friendship or boyfriend dramas behind in school or college, they decide to make an appearance at university. But be the bigger person and sort them out.

 

You will find out who your true friends are.

Like everything, university has most definitely taught me who my true friends are and you know what? It feels good.

 

Lecturers want you to succeed.

They have your best interests at heart, it’s important to ask for help if you’re struggling and ask questions.

 

Deadlines come quicker than you think.

Preparation is vital to ensure that you don’t get bogged down with all the work and add extra pressure.

 

Organisation is key.

Leading on from the previous point – this is fairly self explanatory but it’s important to organise your assignment, work commitments and social activities so that you have a good balnce and stay on top of everything. University is stressful and it’s very easy to get bogged down with the all the work.

 

Referencing is the bane of your life.

Chances are you’ll enter first year not really knowing how to reference or what you’re doing, it’s frustrating! There are many tips and tricks that can help you along the way and for it to be less of a pain.

 

Hard work really does pay off.

I know it doesn’t always feel like it in the process but if you put your mind to it, then you can achieve anything you put your mind to. If you put the work in and try your best then it’s something to be proud of. This has definitely become more apparent to me now that I’ve finished my dissertation!


(Photo of Holly holding her completed dissertation which has been printed and bound, it looks a bit like a book)

 

University is so much more than a degree.

I think we all get so caught up in the work that we often forget this, I do anyway. The degree is vital obviously, but university is also about the friends you make, the life lessons you learn and it’s also about growing as a person.

 

I hope you enjoyed this post and that it has possibly helped some of you that are transitioning to university or that are currently at university. If you are a student, what has university taught you? Let me know in the comments!

Holly x

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How I Balance Blogging and University

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well.

As you can tell from the title, today’s post is about how I balance blogging and university.

It can be tough and I don’t post as often as I’d like to but that’s due to a lack of time, but I am always working on my blog, a lot of it being behind the scenes so you may not see or read it.

Being a third year student in the last few weeks of my degree, and also working for a wonderful sight loss charity, the pressure is well and truly on and the stress levels are high! On top of that my visual impairment can add extra stress and pressures like resources not being accessible, organising support and things like that. That’s all part and parcel of having a visual impairment, but it can take a lot of time up and can be a lot harder compared to sighted people.

I have come up with ways in which I balance university and blogging which work well for me so I wanted to share them with you all. I hope some of you find today’s post useful!

 

Plan ahead

Everyone says ‘plan’ but it is key when you’re a third year student and blogger. Personally, I use the calendar app on my phone to plan and organise things coming up such as deadlines, meetings for work, tutorials, social events and basically everything that I’m doing. That way, I can plan ahead and know what I’m doing when and where I need to be at specific times.
Prioritise

Whether you’re a student, blogger or neither, this tip is so important for everyone. It’s so easy to get caught up in the stresses of university and life in general that we don’t often know where to start. University will always come first for me, so if I have any deadlines looming then those are my priority!

To prioritise, I write myself a to-do list every night so that I can wake up the next morning  knowing exactly what I need to do. I then go through this list and work out which things are my priority and make sure that they’re at the top of the list. My to-do lists include things such as dissertation and assignment goals, other work that I need to do for my job or just in general, blog posts that I need to write or schedule etc. It’s a great way of prioritising what is most important and what needs doing when. I use the notes app on my iPhone to write these lists, it’s nice and simple.

(photo of iPhone)

Have a routine

I’ll be completely honest, I have days where I feel extremely unmotivated and exhausted that I don’t feel like doing any university work or writing blog posts but I try to stick to a routine.

For me, I like to get university work done during the day and spend my evenings writing blog posts and taking some time out for myself. Blogging is a hobby that I enjoy so I like getting some university work done, then sitting down and doing something that I enjoy afterwards.

 

Prepare blog posts in advance

When I have an idea for a blog post, I write it down in the notes app on my phone so that I don’t forget it and can come back to it.

I also try to write blog posts in advance so that I don’t have to rush them, especially if I have deadlines coming up.

I also use an app called Buffer to schedule tweets in order to promote my posts, if I know I won’t have time to sit and promote them on social media myself. Work in bulk.


(photo of the app Buffer)

This can often be quite hard to do if you’re like me, and run out of hours in the day to get everything done that you need to! Working in bulk means that you don’t have to rush posts and write content that you’re not happy with. If you work in bulk, you can post content when you have time or schedule it and it’s extremely rewarding knowing that it’s ready for you to schedule or post.

 

Take time out for yourself

This is definitely something I have been guilty of not doing and I’ve got to the point where I’m extremely exhausted and stressed because I’ve been doing too much and working beyond my limits. I try to take time out for myself and do things like have a catch up with a friend, listen to music, read a book, have a long bath and generally do things that I enjoy doing. Taking time out for yourself means that you can recharge and relax so that you don’t burn out quickly! Since I’ve been at university, I’ve really started to realise that self care is so important.

 

So there you go, that’s how I balance university and blogging. I hope you enjoyed reading and that it helped some of you out there.

Holly x

Seeing Through Sight Loss Q&A

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well.

Today’s post is another collaboration with Elin as part of our seeing through sight loss series

 

 

 

(A photo of me and Elin)

 

A few weeks ago, we both asked for questions for a Q&A on our social media, thank you to those of you that have sent us questions!

We are very sorry that we have only just got around to posting this, the main reason for that being the amount of university work that I have had.

The Q&A is split into different sections: friendship, blogging, lifestyle and disability, we wanted to cover a bit of everything. So, let’s get into today’s post!

 

Friendship

How/when did you meet for the first time?

We started talking on Twitter back in June 2015, after reading each others blogs for a while. We then met on 29 August 2016 in Manchester. You can read all about our first ever meet up here.

 

Do you think your friendship will last?

I think me and Elin have a strong friendship, it’s definitely become a lot stronger over the last year or so. We’ve been through a lot together and as annoying as it can be, I believe that distance makes our friendship stronger. But yes, I truly do think our friendship will last. I hope so anyway!

 

If you could go anywhere in the world together, where would it be?

We have a lot of places that we’d both like to visit but I personally think New York as this is somewhere both of us would love to go.

 

Describe each other in three words.

This is a tricky one to pick just three but caring, trustworthy, and motivational.

 

Why is Elin your best friend?

Can I write a book? Ok, I would if I had the time but realistically I don’t…sorry gal pal. Elin is my best friend for so many reasons and I’m going to discuss a few of them. She’s always there for me, and I mean, always. From putting up with me when I’m stressed out to the max because university work is getting too much, from the problems I’ve had with my eyes for the last 9 months, or when I just need a kick up the butt or a good chat…she’s always there. She makes me laugh and says the most random things which has made dissertation that bit more bearable over the last 6 months. She’s kind, caring, supportive, motivational and just all the qualities you need in a best friend. She just completely gets me, I swear we’re in sync the majority of the time. We’re so similar it’s quite scary sometimes!

 

Blogging

Favourite blog post you have done together?

My favourite blog post we have done together is our first ever collaboration, The VIP Daily Living Tag. It’s a post that we’re both really proud of and were amazed at how many people got involved in completing the tag. I think from that point our friendship really started to grow and blossom.

 

How has your blog changed over time if it has?

I’ve most definitely gained more readers, more than I thought I ever would. As a result of this, it’s been recognised more widely and by quite a lot of sight loss organisations and organisations for people with disabilities which I never imagined happening.

 

What is your favourite thing about blogging?

My favourite thing about blogging is being part of such a wonderful community. The blogging community is just fantastic. Deciding to start a blog was by far one of the best decisions that I’ve made as it’s given me some life-long friends like Elin and I’ve had some wonderful opportunities through blogging.

 

Have you ever experienced hate on your blog?

I feel very lucky to say that No I haven’t.

 

What’s one blogging goal you have?

I’d like to gain more followers on my blog, I know it’s not all about numbers but I would really like to reach more people. If you’re not following my blog then please make sure you do so then you’ll never miss a post! The follow button is located near the bottom of the page

 

Lifestyle

What is your proudest moment?

I’d have to say getting into university. The months leading up to my A-level exams I’d practically convinced myself that I was going to fail my exams and not get into university. Everyone around me believed in me but I didn’t believe in myself. So, when I got a place at my first choice university was such a huge turning point in my life so that’s definitely my proudest moment. From then I’ve become so much more confident, and started to believe in myself.

 

If you could relive one moment, what would it be?

I feel incredibly lucky to have had some amazing experiences and opportunities so this was a very hard question for me. I’m surrounded by extremely wonderful family and friends that support me through everything and without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today or wouldn’t have been able to do half of the things that I have. But one of the moments that I’d like to relive is my 18th birthday celebrations when I saw my favourite band at the O2 arena, that was one of my favourite moments that I’d like to relive.

 

Do you want to travel, if yes where?

As I’ve said previously, I’d love to go to New York!

 

Are you going to any concerts in the future?

Yes, later this month me and Elin are going to see Shawn Mendes and we are also seeing Adele in July. I’m also seeing Olly Murs in July too, as you can tell, I love concerts.

 

What do you do when you’re feeling down?

Listen to music, have a hot bath to try and relax, talk to a friend or family member or watch some TV or read a good book. It’s important to take time away from the things that are stressing you out or making you feel down, self care is vital.

 

Disability

Do you plan to get a guide dog?

I’d love to get a guide dog. I’ve considered it for a few years now but I don’t think I’ve been ready for one, especially whilst being at university and spending a lot of my time in lectures and writing assignments, I haven’t really felt the need for one as such. I do think that I am ready for one now and I am going to start the process very soon I hope. So yes, I do plan to get a guide dog.

 

What’s the best/worst thing about having a visual impairment?

I’d say the best thing about having a visual impairment is being part of the sight loss community which has allowed me to meet some of my best friends. If I didn’t have a visual impairment, I wouldn’t have been part of that community, and I doubt I would have ever met some of the most important people in my life. It’s also given me some great experiences too.

There are a few negatives of having a visual impairment but I like to think the positives outweigh the negatives. It can be hard sometimes though. One of the worst things about having a visual impairment for me, is not being able to see the things in this world such as my family and friends, and just things sighted people may take for granted. I’d love to have a bit more vision so see things such as the people closest to me. For me, that’s probably the worst thing about having a visual impairment. But at the end of the day, life is what you make it, and I’m extremely grateful for the light perception that I do have and that my vision is stable.

 

Does it help that you can talk to each other about your disability/visual impairment?

Yes, it definitely does. We can give each other advice, share our funny moments/experiences, motivate each other when we’re having a down day because of our disability and just support each other. For me, I think it’s so important to have people around you that you can relate to and talk openly to each other about things such as a disability.

 

Do people treat you differently because of your blindness?

Sometimes, yes. That’s one of my biggest pet hates! Some people don’t know how to act around people with a disability, in my case a visual impairment but there’s no need to be awkward, a lot of it is just common sense. We’re just average people, just with a disability. There are a lot of people that do not treat me differently though and see beyond my visual impairment. I personally think there need to be more awareness around this topic.

 

What are people’s reactions when you tell them you’re blind/visually impaired?

I often get told that I don’t look “blind”, and because of this, people are rather shocked that I have a visual impairment. Some people also say things like “oh bless you, it must be difficult” so sort of look down on me when there’s no need to do so. Other people on the other hand, just treat me exactly the same as any sighted person and I think it needs to be that way.

That concludes today’s post everyone, I hope you enjoyed reading. If you have any questions for future Q&A’s that we do then please feel free to send us them!

Don’t forget to check out Elin’s post to read her answers to the questions!

I’ll hopefully be back soon with another post.

Holly x