Day; and it’s raining. The usual morning traffic of buses, taxis, and pupils, converge on the highSchool. Alone, a rather nervous looking young student of about 14, is sitting contemplating the day ahead of her. She’s already had one of her worst weeks so far. Failed homework attempts, battery not being charged on the Braille Note, several shouting sessions with different teachers, bullies in the library, stuff being thrown at her at break, being followed, so was there more to come? Of course there was. Quick footsteps approach down the corridor, as the rain patters harder on the plastic roof of the entrance hall. The drops coming ever larger, the wind howling through the doors, and the gaps in the bottom of them. The footsteps ceased next to her. Her name being called, she rises from the bench, collecting her heavy bag, and with effort, lifting it onto her back. The usual folders, Braille Note, Charger, Lunch box, Dictaphone, planner, and other various contents she has chosen to hide within different pockets, weighing her down. Trailing the walls, she walks through the double doors, down a small, narrow and plainly furbished corridor, with tiled walls, and wooden beams. Her hand passing each beam as she walks, she carries on. Briskly, as to try and avoid the bell, a loud piercing noise, with an electrical sound, she almost makes it to her form room, but does not avoid the bell. Entering her form room, a large room, with a wooden floor, desks with steal legs, and wooden frames, she sits, getting her planner, perhaps hidden at the bottom of the bag, underneath the dozen folders she had been given from weeks before, that she has not even consulted for the weeks assignments that are either due, or have been set. Her main Homework folder, she also produced and put onto the desk. Contained within this, were dividers made of cardboard with the names of her GCSE subjects in Braille across the top. Science, Mathematics, French, German, English, and the last, being a spare divider, which behind that, was Braille paper, should she need it, gratefully supplied to her by her support staff. The usual question of the morning was: “Do you have anything for me?” “Um, no” was her usual and of late, answer. Not the most satisfactory one though, and perhaps, not the one she should have given, if she intended to avoid anxiety, and she thought it would so called, keep things in her mind, calm. It most certainly, was not going too, and would be her ultimate downfall. Heading off after registration, and a few cross words from her support worker, which contained the usual “Why not? You know you must get it in for me to transcribe! You should be taking full responsibility of this!” she walked to her first lecture, or rather “lesson”, or even “period”. Homework was due in, and she had not completed it. The reason? The Braille Note had frozen, and she was not allowed to reset it. Also the fact, the embosser was broken. The paper had jammed. Oh, yes, and, someone was at fault with the Braille preparation. It was mixed up, and faint, so was unreadable. Waiting for what was to come, and she knew it, she sat down. Waiting for the humiliation, the huge telling off, and the explosion of raised voices. Voices that knew her potential to be good, but she would not accept this. She refused to accept they knew her possible, but now impossible potential. That lesson over with, and yet another telling off to add to the weeks’ tally, she headed for back-up, where she required help with her English coursework, which was, oh, not embossed, and still on the braille Note, as well as being incomplete. Perhaps the worst mistake of the day. It would possibly lead to fallouts with one of her favourite and most looked up too, support workers, as they too, were beginning to feel the frustration. It was time for some radical action. Action, she was not going to like. A bound contract, she would have to agree too. Bursting into tears, after yet again, another telling off, she went off to break, where more homework was due for the lesson afterwards. Her next lesson, was biology, so she decided, while in the library, to complete her homework on the Braille note. Appalling, and the biggest error she could have possibly made. It did not get handed in, and several detentions later, failed mocks, and now failed GCSEs, she finally understood. Now you are probably wondering, could life possibly turn round for this student, who is at the lowest ebb? in the roughest seas? Could there possibly be a positive outcome? Could anyone save her, and give her the lesson she needed on self study? Self discipline? The answer, yes. Fast forward to 2014, and she is now browsing the Open University’s website for degrees, after having gained qualifications in English, Spanish, French, and IT. She finally finds one, BSC(Hons) in Psychology with Counselling. Nervously, she applies, with the help of others, and succeeds to get enrolled onto her first year. DD102, Introducing the Social Sciences commenced. TMA after TMA, then the ICMA, then, finally, the EMA. Results time. They weren’t due until 17th July. After seeing messages on faceBook, she nervously checks her OU site. “Pass” was her overall result. Wow! She’s actually managed to turn her life around, from slacking off, and ending up in a very bad place, to working hard, putting her mind to it, and taking her subject seriously. not just that, it’s at degree level, where no-one had envisaged her ending up.
To all those supporting me, and continuing to do so, I thank you with all my heart. Emotions were running high today. Happiness, and hopefully it will continue to be that way. I will aim higher next year. This will spur me on. Thank you all, so much. I hope I continue to make you proud. One down, 5 to go.