Once again, I started searching for two new PAs to help me in my second year at university.
The beginning of 2018 started out with a great deal of stress due to both my PAs’ handing in their notices.
The little notice received meant that my family and I barely had time to find replacements.
The agency arranged for temporary PAs to care for me, but because they were only there on a temporary basis, I had no idea who I had on any given day.
This was difficult for me because of my support needs – I need a heavy amount of care and feel comfortable if I get to know the people who are helping me with my daily living activities. However, I developed a close bond with some of the PAs.
While the search for a permanent carer took place, I had to juggle the balance of working hard on my studies and conducting various interviews with applicants to try and find a suitable replacement.
This was made exceptionally difficult and strenuous as people kept rearranging or cancelling their interviews at the last minute.
All of this started to take its toll on me and it caused me to lose a great level of confidence – making me reconsider staying at university.
This was because my first two PAs handed in their notice before the Christmas break and couldn’t find a suitable candidate within the time frame.
However, we managed to secure three interviews for the same day. I felt pressured to find two applicants as we needed them to start straight away, I had made too many mistakes and I was doing everything in my power for it not to happen again.
On the other hand, I wanted to find someone suitable. On this day, my parents were not able to travel to Leicester and so I was the applicants’ sole interviewer.
While this was nerve-wracking, it allowed me to take charge and responsibility for the people who were going to become my carers.
Considering this, I couldn’t help but feel hopeful. I just hoped my parents, if I did appoint anyone, were happy with my choice.
The first applicant I interviewed answered all the questions with the answers that I was looking for.
She had a friendly attitude and we chatted a lot during the interview – I like to do this to get a feel for the person’s personality as we’d be spending a lot of time together outside of my lectures, (in my opinion, 15% of the job is the care and 85% is how well we get on).
During the interview, I learned that she also studies at DMU – an added bonus. At the end, I didn’t feel it was like an interview but a friendly chit-chat amongst friends.
While the second person was also friendly and understood the caring aspects of the job, I felt that our personalities were vastly different and didn’t work well together but I kept her in mind as a possibility – I wasn’t ruling anyone out yet.
Finally I felt the third applicant was also friendly and she was chatty and open. I learned that we had some similar interest and believed her to have a good understanding of the job.
She seemed well prepared to do everything that I would require assistance for, just like the first applicant was.
Once all of the interviews were finished, I thought long and hard about the applicants and whether any of them stood out. I wanted to get things right this time. In the end, I decided and have now hired the first and third applicant and I am very happy with my decision.