Hello everyone, long time no blog!
As most of you know from my last Facebook update, I have been taking it easy lately. Focusing mostly on getting settled into uni. As a result, my blog has fallen to the wayside and I can’t believe that March is over already.
Since my last blog posts about some of the negative experiences I have had at uni so far, things have actually taken a turn for the better. This was largely to do with the huge amount of attention my blog posts got on social media. My posts managed to reach some of the staff at my university and they immediately took action. This is an example of why it’s so important to speak out about these things and I realise that I am very lucky in a way, that I have this platform and I have all of you out there supporting me.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
So, with that said, I want to share with you a little gem that came out of all of this.
About a week ago, after my blog posts were published, I received an email from the head of the journalism course asking for a meeting. I met with her and the conversation was all positive, focusing on how my lecturers and other staff can best support me from here on. One of her suggestions in this meeting was for me to do a presentation. With no pressure, she told me perhaps I could introduce myself properly, talk about my disability (if I wanted to) and give some pointers on how best to include me.
I want to point out to everyone in the disabled community that this was first and foremost my decision. At the end of the day, I know it’s not my job to educate people. But… I saw this as an opportunity. An opportunity to connect with my classmates, enlighten people and release the tension. It makes me uncomfortable too, when people are uncomfortable or unaware. I decided to do this one-off, 15-minute, talk in one of my Understanding Journalism lectures.
I talked about myself, disability inclusion and some of my experiences. And I also spoke about the ‘social model of disability’.
I was totally nervous. Worried about people not understanding me and about speaking in front of my class – most of whom I didn’t know very well – in general. But once I got going, I was surprisingly confident. I spoke as clearly as I possibly could and then watching it back, I realised something…. my voice isn’t that bad.
The response from my classmates was overwhelmingly positive, something I could have never predicted. I had so many people talking to me afterwards which was completely different to what it was like before the presentation (when nobody talked to me). I got some really amazing compliments and at the end I was actually really proud of myself for going through with it.
So here it is folks, my first real speech, in front of my Understanding Journalism class. I hope there is something the rest of you can take away from it.
Otherwise, just enjoy me making funnies.