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Wednesday, 17 September 2014 01:00

University and Me

Sunday 14th September 2014, is a day I will never forget.
I'd always describe myself as too sensitive, and this day proved it on every level.
Moving from home, the place I'd lived all my life, in a small town with my parents and brothers and sister.
Even when puberty came, when friends grew out of playing with dolls and started walking to school on their own, even when my baby sister had gotten older and was out nearly every night after school, busy shopping, going to cinema or painting friend's toenails, I was at home with my best friend, my Mum. A real homely person, more so than most with my failing senses.
Having been away from home once, the less I say about that the better accept it scarred me for life.
How was I going to cope this time round?
Time has gone on, I have gotten older, wiser and lets just say, I've gained a lot of life experience. Despite being manically depressed and severely anxious I always did have dreams. Even the darkest days where I couldn't see my road ahead, and I didn't want to even try anymore; the easier option just seemed far too easy... I always wanted to succeed, live a happy lifestyle, independently. I always wanted to make a difference.

University was the next big thing coming for a long time. 'I'm ready,' I heard myself tell a lot of people. Little voices or deep thoughts still kept coming into my mind questioning e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g, but I just know I have always had the inner strength, mainly from the support from family and true friends, that I was going to university to learn a trade, have a profession, a profession I have wanted for a time. A profession I have chosen based on the best and happiest days of my life, the time before blindness became an issue in my life, before Usher Syndrome had reared it's ugly head.
I will be a primary school teacher.
I will get my degree and I will inspire young ones through teaching.

My stomach hasn't been settled for at least a couple of weeks before this day, food didn't taste the same, and my palms were sweaty constantly. 'What if?' 'Can I cope?' 'I CANNOT COOK' 'How will I tell people?' 'Will people be as accepting as they should?' 'Will I be able to enjoy this degree like everybody else?' 'Can I really do this?' 'Will they doubt me?'

The last few years have taught me that in life the vilest creatures do exist however, that there are the kindest most thoughtful, open-minded people around too. I have lost and gained faith in humanity, too many times to count. What was university going to consist of? Bullies? A short man with a ginger beard pointing fingers in my face telling me I don't belong?
Or people who would listen, accept me as I am, and help show me the way?
What is it going to be?

Either way, I can't change my mind now, I've battled through A levels, Skills tests and extreme stress levels to get this place and accommodation, the choice has already been made. There is no going back.

The tears never stopped, the lump in my throat was permanently disallowing me to speak. 'You're onto much better things,' I heard my Mum say in my ear whilst squeezing me tight. The tears were simple unlimited that day. Goodbyes were painful, every hug I gave/got I found myself burying into them with my tear stained and red face, not wanting to let go. 'Am I really ready for this?'

'This is it Unis, its me and you now.'

Unpacking and putting my personal belongings into my new room unleashed so many memories.
I remember doing this before. I cried as soon as my parents left, and here I was, crying. De ja Vu.
'It won't be the same Molly' I kept telling myself.

Having met the flat reps, who were the most warm people I could have met, I felt millions better. I immediately flashed my wicked sense of humour, and flooded out my life story. The relief I felt having told people the score, their reactions were so genuine.
My flat consists of (including me,) 3 girls and 3 boys. And everyone took me as I was and didn't question. The blatant curiosity on their faces was saved by my open personality. 'I am basically a bundle of dodgy genes!' Growing up with an optimistic family, I have always dealt with difficulties by having a sense of humour and having a laugh.

The first night, we went on over to the bar/diner on campus where we had to attend a talk in a room that was dim lit. Due to me misunderstanding what the event was, I had Unis back at the flat with a chew to save her from witnessing my immense alcohol consumption.

I immediately grabbed the girls' arms and reported to the girls that my eyes were struggling in the light changes; they were thrilled to be of help.
Freshers' week was beginning and there I was at the bar getting my first drink, 'This'll calm the nerves,' I think as I necked my vodka and lemonade. Having relocated myself to the bar, I turned around and realised I was on my own. I stood where I was for an awkward few seconds, swigging my drink through a straw. One of the guys from the flat came and patted me on the shoulder, 'It's George, are you okay?' 'Just say if you need a hand!'

Well this couldn't get better, my flat mates have fully embraced my condition, me at my worse, and me at my best. They have fully accepted I have good days, bad days and of course the beautiful Unis is a big part of me too. 'Cannot wait for my Unis cuddles later,' they all said within hours of meeting us.

2nd night of freshers' I was more apprehensive about.
More of a club theme on-campus that consisted of LOTS of UV paint, EVERYWHERE. 'I hope they don't forget me.'
So the lighting was terrible and not Usher-friendly, however again my flat mates 'striked' again with their brilliant discreet but great support, hanging onto me and telling me where steps were. Besides, UV paint glows in the dark, definitely came in handy in terms of determining where people's bodies were in the dark!

So far so good, but I'm tired, so tired, Usher does that, another of my daily challenges, hey oh, as mum would say "Onwards and Upwards" :) MJW