Recent Posts

Becoming A Chronically Ill Freelancer – My Story So Far

pippa sat at desk wearing stripy shirt and silver noise cancelling headphones, writing in a diary with open laptop in front of her and books in the background

Time and time again, people ask what I actually do for a living… and I’m yet to find a concise way of answering this question. If they’re familiar with my online life, I’ll tell them I’m a writer and a blogger. If they’re aware of my health situation, I’ll tell them I work from home in digital communications. If it’s somebody I don’t know well, I’ll simply tell them I work in the charity sector. And all of these answers are true.

I graduated from university in 2016 (finishing my postgraduate diploma in 2017), and thanks to the joys of an unrelenting chronic illness, I had no idea what the future would hold. As I discuss in more depth in this post about being an ‘in-betweener’, I knew I was well enough to work in some capacity, but far from able to pursue a typical 9am-5pm occupation that involved leaving the house and being around other people every day.

Still adapting to the constraints that my health had imposed on my day-to-day life, back then I didn’t think I would have the luxury of choice over what job I went into; I thought I’d simply have to take whatever I could secure. By then, my self-worth had taken a serious battering. Everything had been overshadowed by my condition and the struggles of navigating an inaccessible society, and I was yet to realise that I still had all these valuable skills to offer.

View PostBecoming A Chronically Ill Freelancer – My Story So Far

How To Network Online – Introducing My New eBook!

smiling headshot of pippa, brown hair down and wearing denim blue dress. pippa is holding up white ipad with 'how to network online' ebook on the screen

Oh hey, I wrote an eBook! You can purchase a copy of How To Network Online on this page, but for now, allow me to share a little introduction as to how it all came about…

If you’re new around here, it’s lovely to meet you! My name is Pippa, and I’m a chronically ill writer and blogger. I was diagnosed with my condition (ME/CFS) after my health rapidly declined during my university years, and for the first time, my eyes were opened to the numerous barriers that disabled people face in education and employment.

As somebody who describes themselves as an ‘in-betweener’ when it comes to health (more on that one here!), I knew that the path to whatever came next perhaps wasn’t going to be straightforward as it once would have been. Consequently, a huge amount of my time and energy as a student was taken up with worrying what the future would hold. It was around now that I first realised that if I really wanted to make something of myself, fluctuating health and all, I’d probably have to find some alternate pathways to doing so.

Chronic illness can change every single element of your life, but make no mistake, it doesn’t inherently take away your hopes and dreams. Even when my condition was at its worst and I spent most of my time in bed, there was still always an idea or two for the future brewing at the back of my mind. The challenge was in finding ways of putting myself out there and making an impression among new potential contacts who could help me to action these things, whilst primarily stationed at home in my Disney pyjamas.

View PostHow To Network Online – Introducing My New eBook!

Connections And Contacts For Disabled Students – Choosing A University

pippa wearing white dress with graduation cap and gown in grey, stood up outdoors with trees and river in background, holding black clutch bag and smiling

Choosing a university is no quick decision for any student, but when you’re disabled and/or chronically ill, there are dozens of extra factors to consider. It can be surprisingly difficult to find genuine and authentic information on what it’s like to be a disabled student at any particular university, and in my book, University And Chronic Illness: A Survival Guide, one of my recommendations for getting around this issue was to attend Open Days. Not only would you be able to experience the environment you’d be studying in for yourself, you’d be able to meet support staff and chat to other disabled students about their own experiences too.

However, I’m sure it won’t have escaped your notice that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. The country is on lockdown, university buildings have closed, and of course, all events and Open Days have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. Completely essential measures that we should all support, of course, but very much not ideal for those young people currently making time-sensitive decisions about their own future… with seriously limited information available.

Whilst universities still have accessibility information and support pages for disabled students live on their websites, my own research over the years has shown that these resources offer only very little insight into what life as a disabled student at that particular university is actually like. It’s worth making clear that disability advisors from each university should still be available to chat and answer your questions throughout this period, but personally, I think the most accurate information about specific universities’ access and inclusion comes from disabled students who’ve experienced these things first-hand.

So, with this in mind, I wanted to attempt a little experiment on behalf of prospective disabled students. Even though the ability to physically visit universities has been removed, there may still be value in reaching out and talking to other disabled students or graduates from the university you’re most interested in applying to. I know it can be tricky to reach out and identify people who can help, so let me lend a hand…

View PostConnections And Contacts For Disabled Students – Choosing A University