Starting University with an Ostomy

Colosto-ME

I had no time to sit at home getting used to having a colostomy. I started chemotherapy six weeks after surgery, so I was in and out of hospital almost straight away.

I thought I was used to being out of the house. I hadn’t quite considered that a hospital is somewhere notorious for being understanding to people with health conditions; turns out this is quite different to somewhere like a place full of barely legal hungover teenagers, I’m sorry adults, with a lot to say for themselves. I am being horribly harsh, as my fellow students are completely lovely (the smell of stale alcohol generally subsides after the first month or so), but this was the fear I was starting university as a mature student ostomate with.

Read more………

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The Mature Students Guide to Starting University

Goals, Journey Back to Health, Uncategorized, What's Happening?

It seems strange that this time last year I was tentatively finding out if I would finally be able to fulfil the dream of going to University to read Literature and Writing.  Here I am going into my second year (as I’m part time this is the second part of my first year).  I love uni; learning, reading, writing, heaven!  That’s not to say there aren’t points when it’s overwhelming, tiring and difficult to balance with small children, but here are a few things I have learnt….

images-8Prepare

In my experience, the one evening I need to get my head down, will be the evening one of my children get’s ill, won’t go to bed or launches a nuclear missile – all resulting in me needing to tend to my little darlings.  So, my tip…

Do as much preparation as possible.  Try and spend your time between now and starting uni working your way through your reading list.  If possible find out which areas you will be studying in order so you can read accordingly.  Once term starts you have so much additional work, squeezing it all in can become difficult so the more reading you can do before, the better.

Read All The Information

Expect a lot of information, try and read it all and pick out the relevant parts.  Most of it is online nowadays so keep an eye on your email and for links.  As with everything there is a lot of red-tape, Uni’s have to keep tabs on all students so there is lots of singing in, swiping ID cards so get up to speed on what you need to do and get into the habit of doing it from the very beginning.

Create ‘Uni Time’

How you work is unique to you and your situation but I found it easier to have dedicated university days.  If I’m in university for lectures, then I go straight to the library and work for as long as possible staying in that ‘uni headspace’.  Otherwise you know what it’s like, you get home think you will quickly put a wash on, make a coffee butUnknown-1 whilst getting a mug out the dishwasher you quickly unload it and before you know it you are totally out of your uni headspace and need to get the kids / go to work.  Plus you aren’t constantly trying to pickup where you left off as you are already there.

Give Yourself a Chance

There are skills that come with being at university and studying.  It takes time to become good at anything, including being a student.  If like me you have been out of formal education FOREVER, it is going to take time to get into the swing of it.  Thankfully that is what the first year is all about, finding your feet, learning skills and building your confidence.

Keep Going

Sometimes the hardest thing to do but keep going, allow yourself some flexibility, suddenly you will be at the end of the year and not believe how quickly it has gone.  You will be pleased of the summer break but then find you are even more excited to get back to it and into your 2nd year in September!

Happy Studying x

The Anti-Bucket List

Cancer & Me, Journey Back to Health, The Anti-Bucket List

I think everyone is now familiar with the term Bucket List as a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket.  When I was having treatment for advanced Colorectal Cancer  I decided that when I got better I would flip the idea and came up with The Anti-Bucket List… these were things I was going to do, not because I was going to die, but because I was going to live.  Got the idea?

I see this as different to New Years Resolutions because I consider those the be goals of the year, whereas this list is more things I want to do and experience.

Last year I only included a few things as I was still having treatment / recovering but there were;

  1. Travel to somewhere I haven’t been before / Travel for the first time with my P1010291colostomy bag – I went to Morocco.  Truly amazing experience.  I was so nervous to travel for the first time with a colostomy bag but in reality it was fine.  Just made sure I had plenty of everything (I took about 2 months worth for 3 nights) and in all different bags in case something happened, but nothing did.  No trouble flying.  Everything was cool.  Have now flown a few times, all fine.  And Morocco itself was out of this world.  It is firmly at the high end of my favourite places to go list (Mexico remains number 1).
  2. Go to University – Wasn’t easy and at times I wondered why I put it on the list but I did it.  I now go to the University of Hertfordshire reading English Literature, Philosophy & Writing and I absolutely LOVE it.  It is one of my favourite things to do on earth at the moment.
  3. Read another 3 books of my list – My list is the BBC Top 100 Reads voted by the public.  Its been really good actually, made me read loses of books I wouldn’t have otherwise, most of which I have really enjoyed.

So that was last year, but what about this year…  This is what I have so far…

  1. Go to a fancy Horse Race – by that I mean like Ascot, a traditional big race where the ladiesIMG_2621 get seriously dressed up.
  2. See a Ballet at the Royal Opera House –  I haven’t been for years.
  3. Visit Harry Potter world at Letchworth Studios – as close as I can get to the real thing.
  4. Take part in Cancer Research’s Colour Run – Have you seen how much fun this looks… has to be done.  If you want move information about it, visit www.thecolourrun.co.uk or if you want to know more about why Cancer Research means so much to me specifically you can click here!
  5. Go somewhere I haven’t been before – This doesn’t have to be abroad, there is still a lot in the UK I haven’t seen.  Quite like the idea of the outer-Heberdies… anyone have any suggestions?

So that is the Anti-Bucket list as it stands but I am looking for inspiration and things to add so please leave and comment & let me know what else I can do that will bring fun and excitement to this year I’m living.

But, most importantly, what is on your Anti-Bucket list?  I really would like to know leave a comment & tell me.

Whatever it is, hope you have fun doing it! x

Some other awesome lists to check out….

101 Things to Do When You Survive

Bucket List Publications