University advice?

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stephiey
stephiey Member Posts: 61
edited 3. Jan 2011, 21:25 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hi everyone,
Happy new year! Hope everyone had a good and safe night.
I know it's only the first day of the new year but I'm still panicking about what I'm going to do after I leave college in May.

I had a plan; to go straight to university, get my degree and get PR or Buyer role in an fashion company I have good communication and someone I know there.
The main problem is I don't know if I'll be able to do this, I'm scared as anything and worried that it will be a repeat of my A-levels and I'll have to repeat a year and end up wasting £9,000! It makes it worse that tuition fees will be rising. The more I think about it the more stressed I feel and I knew I could come here and ask for advice.

The only other option would be for me to work full time and although I know it would be a challenge but with the current recession and everything i know it would be hard. My brother graduated university in July and still hasn't found a job worthy of his skills.

I would love to go to University and considered the Open University but my Mum says she's worried about me missing out on general socialising. I've always valued her opinion as I know she has always looked out for me.
The other downturn to not going to Uni is that I wouldn't be up for the jobs that I mentioned earlier as they won't take anyone who aren't in Uni.

I have thought over everything and am tilting towards going to Uni but was wondering what everyones opinions were and if anyone here had any university experiences?

Thank you for reading, and im really sorry it was so long!

Lots of love and best wishes for 2011,
Stephanie
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Comments

  • speedalong
    speedalong Member Posts: 3,315
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Stephiey, I studied for my degree prior to arther coming on the scene. However, there are some good supports in place for students with disabling conditions ... I'm sure others will come on who are more in the know than me. Do you have a uni place offer? It might be worth contacting the uni of your choice to discuss your concerns with the disability rights officer (or whatever they are called.)

    Speedy
    I have had OA since mid twenties. It affects my hips and knees. I had a THR on the left aged 30 and now have a resurface-replacement on the right - done May 2010.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    None of us know whether we are able to do things until we try to do them. Surely it is better to try your best and (possibly) not succeed than not try at all. Fees are repaid gradually after a certain salary point is reached, yes? They are not the killer debt that so many would have us believe.

    I repeat, none of us know whether we are able to do things until we try. Only you can make that decision. I wish you well. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,492
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Steph

    I am with DD

    I believe we should try everything and you may live a life full of regrets if you don't?

    Love

    Toni xx
  • cathhankin
    cathhankin Member Posts: 28
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi,
    I studied for my teaching degree from 2004-2008.
    Whilst my condition was at bay, i do know there is alot of support out there for you. the tutors are leniant with assignment dates and there is the option of having someone alongside to to help you. i never took up this option as my condition was ok at the time. but my freind did and basically she had a woman who worked with her for example, took notes in lectures because her wrists were sore, helped her get books from the library etc. It would be worth looking what you are entitled to at the university as i got a computer to carry my work out at home and was entitled to funding tobuy the books i needed for the course which helped as it meant i didnt have to spend hours in the library looking for the books.
    I lived at home whilst at university as i live 20 mins away, i did miss the social side of it, but i wasnt bothered persoanlly i just wanted to get my degree.
    Although i coped well at uni with my condition, the bad news came in my 3rd year when i was told i had to have my hip replaced. the uni were very helpful. i ended up that i completed all the written assessments, then had to wait to do my placement after my op. consequenlty everyone graduated without me and i graduated the year after. my placement was hard and i struggled greatly because of my condition. i finally had to choose between health and career and health won.
    I passed my placement, only just, and have got my degree, however i have decided to be a teaching assistant instead.
    i still get to work with the children but dont have the stress of planning etc which brought on my RA.
    Don't be worried about going to uni, research what support is available and you will be surprised.
    Good Luck x x
  • alarkra
    alarkra Member Posts: 213
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Stephanie,

    If there is one thing that I have learnt, it's to give everything a try as you never know what may happen. I was fortunate enough to go to uni and then work in a really interesting industry before I got taken down by RA. And I never look back with regret. And I still look forward to what I can do on the days when I feel good...

    So I'm with everyone else on this thread, all of which have very wise words. Do you research and decide what will give you the best for you. Good luck! :wink::grin:
  • scattered
    scattered Member Posts: 326
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I was diagnosed with RA after only being at uni for 2 weeks. I went on to successfully complete a 3 year course and am now doing a masters part-time.

    It is worth getting in touch with the disaability officer of all the universities you're looking at and asking what help they can offer you. Disabled Students Allowence will pay for many things to help with the academic side of life, like providing note-takers, library support, a laptop, voice recognition software, special desk chairs, book holders, voice recorders for recording lectures and money for transport costs due to your condition.

    DD is right when she says that any debt is paid back only when you have a job earning more than £15,000 a year and then it is paid back very little at a time, more like a tax that will come out of your pay packet, than a giant debt that all has to be paid back within a time limit.

    Due to my RA I may have missed out on a lot of the social side of uni life, but that didn't really bother me. I prefered going out for a quiet coffee in the afternoon than spending all my time going out in the evening! You have to learn to pace yourself and to say no when needed. I was at uni in Aberystwyth, over 3 hours away from home, so just popping back wasn't an option. I was quite ill with my RA for the majority of my BA, but I managed and I still think that those 3 years were some of the bext in my life. Imet some great people, studied a great course, got involved in things I would never have done otherwise.

    I hope whatever decision you come to, you make the right one for you. Good luck.
  • woodbon
    woodbon Member Posts: 4,969
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi, I hope you will be able to go to University. I don't know what is available in the way of help for disabled students but it would be worth finding out from either the UNiversity you want to go to or a Disablility Advisor. The financial side of things must be a worry for all students,but especially disabled people, my understanding is that you don't have to pay it back until you earn at least £25,000 a year, but that is only a vauge memory of something on the radio. You need expert advice and I'm sure a university would be happy to give it to you.
    I used to work at Oxford, and we often got people ringing up to find out about their needs. I'd put them through to a person like the sub-faculty secretary or head of Departments Sec. We had disabled people studying Biochemsitry at Oxford, then so I'm sure that any University would have someone to help you and tell you what to expect. Good luck, love Suexxxx
  • tkachev
    tkachev Member Posts: 8,332
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    scattered wrote:
    I was diagnosed with RA after only being at uni for 2 weeks. I went on to successfully complete a 3 year course and am now doing a masters part-time.

    It is worth getting in touch with the disaability officer of all the universities you're looking at and asking what help they can offer you. Disabled Students Allowence will pay for many things to help with the academic side of life, like providing note-takers, library support, a laptop, voice recognition software, special desk chairs, book holders, voice recorders for recording lectures and money for transport costs due to your condition.

    DD is right when she says that any debt is paid back only when you have a job earning more than £15,000 a year and then it is paid back very little at a time, more like a tax that will come out of your pay packet, than a giant debt that all has to be paid back within a time limit.

    Due to my RA I may have missed out on a lot of the social side of uni life, but that didn't really bother me. I prefered going out for a quiet coffee in the afternoon than spending all my time going out in the evening! You have to learn to pace yourself and to say no when needed. I was at uni in Aberystwyth, over 3 hours away from home, so just popping back wasn't an option. I was quite ill with my RA for the majority of my BA, but I managed and I still think that those 3 years were some of the bext in my life. Imet some great people, studied a great course, got involved in things I would never have done otherwise.

    I hope whatever decision you come to, you make the right one for you. Good luck.

    repayments will start at £21000.However it will be compounded interest so the total loan will grow faster.

    Elizabeth
    Never be bullied into silence.
    Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
    Accept no ones definition of your life

    Define yourself........

    Harvey Fierstein
  • alarkra
    alarkra Member Posts: 213
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Regardless of the cost Stephanie, you have to remember that you only live this life once, so make the most of it. :wink:
  • Cez
    Cez Member Posts: 46
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I am totally in the mind frame that RA won't stop me trying anything! I'm not saying I'll complete everything but I'm not willing to stop doing things in fear of flare ups.

    I adored university, the great friends I made, the independence I gained, the social side and the things I learnt in the subject I loved. I understand the cost has risen vastly but as mentioned, this will be paid back at a reasonable rate. I think it's a fabulous opportunity and if it's something you're interested in, go for it. Take each day as it comes and better to try and (hopefully not) fail than to get 5, 10 years down the line and wish you'd give it a shot? Universities are used to dealing with students with a range of medical conditions from chronic conditions to disabilities, so please don't think they won't be understanding or equipped to support you.

    Good luck, whatever you decide!
  • tkachev
    tkachev Member Posts: 8,332
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    alarkra wrote:
    Regardless of the cost Stephanie, you have to remember that you only live this life once, so make the most of it. :wink:

    I meant to say this too Stephanie. It is important to enjoy life to the full. I just ran out of posting energy as been on AC a lot!
    Good luck
    Elizabth
    Never be bullied into silence.
    Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
    Accept no ones definition of your life

    Define yourself........

    Harvey Fierstein
  • jassie
    jassie Member Posts: 17
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Stephanie,

    I'm a (mainly retired now) university teacher with long-term RA. I applaud your ambitions and you should certainly not be put off by your medical condition from pursuing them. If you could cope with full-time work, you should certainly be able to cope with university. I don't know how old you are but, if you are still a teenager and at the start of your career, attendance at university will develop social skills which will help in your future work while taking a distance course such as OU, though there is some personal contact, could make you feel more isolated. Universities also generally offer career advice and often help with job and job-seeking skills.

    I cannot advise you on the decision whether to go to university or to get a job, a decision made more difficult now that potentially £9000 p.a. is at stake and jobs are more scarce. Either could be great, and it's really what you make of it that matters. I do know from experience that students who work hard rarely fail and that the university experience is more than just about study and can be very rewarding in itself.

    As regards university, though the following advice might help you:

    1. Do your research well and make sure the course you apply for is the right one for you. Having someone you know at the same university can be helpful but in career terms it is not the most important factor. You will easily make new friends.

    2. You can't start looking at the courses and applying too early. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and have good 2nd and 3rd choices in case you don't get an offer from your 1st.

    3. If you go for an interview, don't be afraid to raise intelligent questions about (amongst other things) assistance for disabled students within the organisation. While, it's not the place to go into much detail about your own condition, and of course you shouldn't look as if you're using it as a play for sympathy, asking sensible questions shows that you have thought about the possible difficulties and have a responsible attitude.

    4. Try to find out as soon as possible what level of A level grades the institution looks for for your chosen course. It's no good applying to somewhere that is likely to insist on all A's if you're pretty sure some of your grades will be lower. Talk to your teachers and get an accurate view of their predictions for you.

    5. When you accept a place, let the university's student advisers know immediately that you are likely to need help (they will probably arrange a chat for you with a learning counsellor). With so many students it often takes time to arrange suitable help and ideally you want it to be in place within the first week or so.

    6. Finally, when you get there, you should mention your condition to your personal tutor at your first opportunity (they should already have been made aware but do so anyway). Whether you mention it to other tutors and lecturers depends on the circumstances and how relevant it is. If there are special needs, they are usually sympathetic as long as the condition is not being used as an excuse for bad or inadequate work.

    If you have taken the difficult and sensible step of asking for advice on this forum, I am sure you have what it takes to plan well for your future. Don't be afraid: be excited and determined.

    Hope some of that helps, and I wish you the very best of luck and every success in your career.

    Jassie
  • amboritic
    amboritic Member Posts: 66
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    I would struggle to finance a P/T course but the new fees structure, though some may not like it, there will be advantages for P/T students such as those with Arthur who don't want F/T study.

    I started a Degree at North London Uni P/T in '97, but had to drop out due to the cost of advance fees.

    If you think about it, do your degree P/T pay for your fees after you hit the earning limit, but with Arthur you may decide to job share or work P/T and therefore you will never hit the payback threshold.

    Maybe not the way they expected people to use the new system, but hey, take advantage of a bad situation.