I’m back from my double dose of blind camps! I’ve missed you guys, your posts [no, autocorrect, not their pots] and your comments so so much, and I really need to catch up with your blogs. however, I start back at school tomorrow [unfortunately], and so I need to get sorted for that tonight, and attempt to get an early night [what a load of crap].
First blind camp: really good. It was super informative, relaxed and positive, and I came away with more information on the topic on which the weekend was about.
second blind camp: … … …
Let me explain what this camp was for. Being blind [or if we’re being politically correct, visually impaired], access to work in school can be difficult. My work has to be prepared for me in either Braille or in an electronic form, which in my case is currently not really an issue: it’s being done well. Without sounding needy and attention seeking, being blind in a ‘normal’ school can cause extra stress, pressure and work to ensure that I keep up with the fast pace of mainstream classes.
Here in the UK, we have exams called GCSEs aged 16, at the end of that academic year. after GCSEs, depending on your results, you can either go to sixth form or college, or get an apprenticeship in a workplace. Being blind, there is a lot to consider in regards to my options post 16.
There is one college located near Wales which can provide support for me to complete my A Levels and to eventually head to university. There are many advantages to going there, including smaller class sizes, creating an easier environment to learn in, along with full support tailored at a person with a visual impairment. They can also offer me a lot of sports training and facilities, something that my school cannot offer due to their lack of experience and expertees with blind students, and something that I really want to do. additionally, this college can teach me what is known as ILS, or independent living skills. This includes things like cooking, cleaning and overall living independently without relying on support from y family. this, of course, is valuable in terms of university, when I could potentially be living hundreds of miles away with no easy access to home.
To me, this all sounds wonderful and happy and really positive, but as with everything, it’s got it’s downside. If I went to this college, I’d have to move out from home, aged 16. That scares me, a lot, because I’m about as unready to leave home as I am to swim around the world in a day [which I’m not doing for your information]. And it’s not like the college is just up the road or anything: it’s 250 miles away, four hours by car or 5 hours by train. That’s an wfully long way away, meaning I an’t really come home at weekends, or pop home for tea in the evenings.
I’m aware that this is why my parents are currently a little bit against the idea of me going at 16: I guess it’s hard for them to let go of me, however big-headed that sounds [God, it really does]. Instead, they’d rather I do my A Levels at home, at my local school, and then go to this college to learn ILS for a third year between A Levels and university. This is an option that is possible, but I just don’t think that I want to go thorugh my A Levels knowing that I could be receiving better academic support.
On top of everything, this college can offer me better emotional support than I’ll ever get at home. It’s probably apparent on this blog that I have my ‘moments’, and I just can’t get support at home with that without kicking up a huge storm and making things worse really.
My second blind camp, which ran from yesterday morning to this afternoon, was to have a look at the college, stay in the halls, try out some lessons and speak to the staff, including the residential support officers. I think that things were just so stressful, and there are so many dicisions I have to make that last night, I just couldn’t take it. I found my mum [they separate children and parents on this weekend to try and encourage independence], went outside to the car park and basically had a meltdown. I’ve never done that before, and it was so scary to feel, kind of out-of-control. I was such a mess, and such a confused mess at that. Somehow, I managed to calm myself down, and had a 1-to-1 chat with one of the members of residential staff, and talked about applying, and life at the college, and just everything. It helped, I guess; it put my mind at rest enough to get some sleep at any rate.
My current gut feeling is to go at 16. My parents, as I said, aren’t so keen on this idea, and that’s perfectly understandable, don’t get me wrong. I just feel I need that support through my A Levels, and this college cand provide me with that. then again, this time next week and could have changed my mind again, and there’s where I fall into issues, because I have to have made a decision by December of this year to ensure that I an apply in time.
Sorry for the long and slightly depressing post. On a more positive note, you can’t say that you have aad an emotion l meltdown in a car park every day, now can you?