As the new year approaches, I finished I now reflect on my third year at De Montfort University Leicester, starting with my first mission. Recruiting a new PA team for the academic year. This, unfortunately, was followed by an emotional turmoil that I suffered through the summer, a few weeks prior to the start of the year up until this very day…
Hiring Carers – Ding Ding. Round 3
The final year of my Undergraduate degree was coming and my first mission to recruit new PA/carers to assist me in my final year at De Montfort University (DMU). Sabrina, who was my morning carer for the past two years had promised to fill one of the positions, so we moved on with recruiting one person for the jobs to work alongside us for the next nine months.
Applicants began trickling in and I soon found an applicant that was strong and ready for interviews. Let’s call her Nymphadora, I interviewed her face to face and I found her to be a very kind, friendly person and a very kind manner, who seemed to be shy and quiet and first but soon came out of her shell. She had many stories from her own University journey, including many travel adventures; she related them to the job role and she seemed confident and perfectly capable of what the role would require her to do. Though it wasn’t mandatory, Nymphadora had care experience and seemed at ease when we spoke about my care needs that were detailed in the job description and this made me feel better. As well as my care needs, this applicant seemed confident and encouraging when it came to a discussion about supporting me with my studies, including my final dissertation. All of the serious parts out of the way, I was able to get to know more about her personality and see whether any of our traits matched. Nymphadora and I have close bonds with our families and our love for blogging were also shared; She enjoys going out to bars and clubs but also likes to relax with a good film including anything and everything Harry Potter or binge-watching a series on Netflix.
The next applicant, Hermione and I participated in the interview via Skype and she immediately made a great first impression and gave off a strong positive vibe. We began chatting straight away, without any prompting what so ever from the Ask Jules representative who was there in the Skype call, Hermione came across as someone very bubbly, confident and outgoing, responsible and organised, punctual and upbeat. We shared the experiences of attending De Montfort University and our journeys were similar and I knew that she could encourage and coach me through the remainder of my studies and motivate me to reach the finishing line, while sharing and having fun in everything Leicester has to offer, including Mosh nightclub, a popular student nightclub. Hermione did not have care experience, but this was not an issue, this could be learnt through the training I would provide if she was successful in securing the role. As a University student herself, she had lived in halls of residence and knew how to cook a number of dishes, including some of my favourites and others I hadn’t tried before which would be great as I needed to stop having takeout and microwave meals and help me keep disdained and healthier during the year. This was all great, but what was even more important was we got on well, we chatted like we had known each other for years, not a few minutes, our personalities match well. As well as helping me with my day to day life, I knew we would have a lot of fun, including going out of a night and dressing up and Hermione doing our make – up to add to the night. To put the cherry on top of the fantastic case she was an avid Harry Potter fan!
Fast forward from my delight of Hermione accepting the role until now after I finished University and it was a stressful but fantastic year. Hermione was bubbly, fun and outgoing and every night and day was a laugh, we were able to balance academic goals with valuable downtime, all work and no play makes for one unhappy camper. My third year on my undergraduate degree was challenging for many reasons, some known and some unknown to people, but thanks to Hermione and Sabrina I was able to get through it and finish my undergraduate degree with a 2.1. I can’t quite put into words everything that went on in my third year but all I can say is I look back oh my final year and I’m pleased with the achievements and the opportunities that it gave me but also the memories of the various freshers’ parties and overall nights out. I am now still in regular touch with both of them and I hope to continue our friendship even out of University.
An Emotional Turmoil
My mum has and always will be my role model in life and she has been a big support and inspirations through my life. I can’t quite put it into words how much I love her and how to express the gratitude that I feel towards her.
My mum was first diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 10 years old and at secondary school. It was a tough time for us and we fought through it and she was given the all-clear and was clear for five years before being re-diagnosed in 2017 which was in the latter part of my first year at DMU. It’s hard to put into words exactly what we’ve had to go through the last 2 years. From doctors appointments to treatments and everything in between it took an emotional toll on the whole family but we all still stuck together and sort through trying to support mum in any way that we could. I love my mum more than anything else in the world and to see her going through that pain and suffering but stay so strong is my top inspiration and I did everything I could just show I was there for her
Midsummer of 2018 my mum, unfortunately, got worse and I would rather not go into much detail here but she spent a great deal of time at the hospital. As I had been doing for a while, I started taking things day by day and spending all the time with her that I could only living in the moment because to think about or consider anything else was too painful. Third year at DMU was approaching on the horizon and my mum was still very unwell and I didn’t know what to do for the best. I was so conflicted. I wanted to finish uni but at the same time, an overwhelming desire was to stay at home with my family. I was already dealing with my own emotions of what came with my current situation and dealing with comprehending it all but then I had other people feeding my head with petty comments and opinions filling my head with things that they think I should do and then taking it a step forward insinuating that going to uni is what my mum would want me to do. It really infuriated me as I was already feeling horrible and unexplainably low and the last thing I needed to hear is what I should be doing and people putting words into my mum’s mouth or speaking on my mum’s behalf of mum They had no right to do any of that and it made me inexplicably angry.
My brother when hearing that my mum was deteriorating flew back from Thailand within 48 hours of him being informed which is another prime example of how our family pulled together at this most difficult of time.
Freshers week with coming and I had a discussion solely with my dad and my brother without anyone else interrupting about whether I was to attend university this year. We agreed that it would be a case of taking one week at a time and having the reassurance that Leicester was only 40 minutes away from Birmingham so I would easily get a train back which runs twice every hour. On the weekend that I moved back to Leicester we met Hermione our chosen applicant for the role that interviewed previously and Sabrina who helped my dad and my brother move my things in. I was desperate and conflicted about this but I did what I promise which was to wait and take day by day. I started to enjoy Freshers Week and having not heard anything from Dad I suspected everything stable
I will remember the events of the next few days for years to come as on the Tuesday evening I had gotten dressed up for zoo party as part of Freshers Week 2018. I was just about to phone a taxi and my dad phoned me and told me that my family members were coming to get me as I was needed at the hospital back home. It was crazy because give it a minute longer and I would have phoned the taxi ready to take it out but instead, I found myself going to the hospital. Visiting my mum and my family for the next few days I tried to hold myself together and take every moment as it came trying to hang on and keep myself grounded but it definitely took its toll on me
I won’t go into detail because of it still too painful but on the Thursday I was preparing to go to the hospital to visit my mum when my dad phoned me and told me mum has passed away. Even over a year on from that fateful day, I remember like it was yesterday and it’s permanently etched in my brain and I won’t forget it for the rest of my life. It was like the whole world had dropped from underneath me and I was struggling to hold onto something to keep me up. I was numb and the next few days I was struggling more than I can possibly explain and I didn’t know what to do with myself let alone deciding whether or not to attend university this year which would start on the coming Monday.
Once again thinking they were trying to help instead of company people were saying that I should go to University that it’s definitely what my mum would have wanted but now more than ever they did not have a right to fill my head with these things and it just put me under more and more pressure. I get that people would just try to help but it was having the opposite effect and all the stress and emotion was making me ill. I had spoken to my main tutors at university the day after my mum passed and inform them about my situation and they were very supportive and reassured be this is completely understandable to feel the way I haven’t worry about University it would still be there for when I was ready and it would not risk my studies and I could just continue the following year if that was better for me. I ignored all of these comments, especially the ones relating to Mum and what the thought her opinion would be. They have no right to speak on her behalf not at all at least not now. I spoke to my dad and my brother alone as they understood what I was going through and they said that it was completely up to me and I really appreciated their support more than ever as these were the opinions that I was going to listen to and consider when making my decision.
Up till this Sunday I kept changing my mind back and forth and even just before we left for Leicester I was still conflicted about I wanted to do but in the end I went to university and again just took one day at a time and one I wanted to do. In the end, it was all I could do. My third year was very emotional because of stress and my mum passing and I was even more visual with what I was doing and monitoring my stress levels and nearly a year after finishing I still don’t know how I did it with all my emotions and stress – but I did it. The message I have for anyone going through a similar situation where you find yourself either in the middle or about to start university is doing what’s right for you and don’t listen to anything anyone else says. You’re the only one who knows you and your mental health is more important than anything else.