Last month I said goodbye to student life. I left PPA and my role on the Campus Action Team. In the previous month I have been incredibly busy (I still volunteer at Brighton Museum and work in the alumni office. I am also the UNISON Women’s Officer and do a lot of stuff with the blog).

I can’t quite believe I am no longer a student. I had been looking forward to being a university student for years and I had a lot of hopes/dreams tied up in my degree. Also, it feels a bit weird because everyone was expecting me to do great. I loved student life but I never felt like I truly fit in (which is totally to do with my mental health issues, rather than the university). Plus, being a part-time mature student is tough and balancing work, study, volunteering, family and other ad hoc union duties was too difficult for me.

At first I thought admitting my failure would be difficult. But I am actually feeling OK. Though, maybe if I get some free time in the future I might start to feel regret. I’ve often told people that getting to university was an achievement for me. Yes, I am one of those people who come from a background where I was taught to believe university was not for the likes of me. People didn’t think I could make it, I didn’t feel like I could make it, but I made it. I just made it, then I left.

I am also lucky enough to work with a really supportive teams (in the university and the museum) so I know that I’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn and develop in the future. University life has shown me that feeling cared for is important to my learning journey. I feel valued and I know that people I work with trust my abilities (even when I don’t).

Since leaving my course I have done some Early Years training at Brighton Museum. The training was delivered my Octopus Inc and it really tied together my interests in learning, accessibility, inclusion and art. I had never considered working with Early Years before but I actually found that I could apply a lot of my knowledge and experience into these sessions. It felt really exciting and rewarding to find out I wasn’t as clueless as I expected.

I also booked a spontaneous weekend trip to St Ives. It was beautiful and people there were lovely (especially the people who kept giving me free fudge and liqueur – you made my journey home much more enjoyable). The trip also gave me time to think about what to do with free time. On a train to Plymouth I sat opposite a lady (I wish I could remember her name, company or job role) who spoke about her role using art to work with people with disabilities. I also visited RAAR Emporium and spoke to the staff about using art to engage. St Ives was well worth the visit and I came home feeling reinvigorated.

I’ll leave this post here and write some more later on. I know I could easily end up writing about everything I’ve done in the past month and that would be boring to read (why have you come this far anyway?).

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