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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…

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Volunteering From Home – Flexible, Inclusive Opportunities For All

pippa sat cross legged on bed in comfy lounge clothes, laptop on knee, looking up and smiling

I firmly believe that there’s no such thing as too many acts of kindness. In light of our current circumstances, it’s been so heartwarming to see that a decent proportion of the general public are shining bright and coming forward to volunteer, doing all they can to help others.

With restrictions on work, socialising and leaving the house, many people are suddenly finding themselves with time on their hands. Now, I know as well as you do that this time could readily be passed motherlode-ing to your heart’s content on The Sims or watching Netflix all day every day, but hear me out here: what if I told you that you could easily support deserving charities and the vulnerable people they work with… and still have plenty of time to devote to your favourite series on the side?

Again, many people have recently shown true selflessness in signing up as NHS volunteers or being out and about providing key services. When, however, you’re physically unable to leave the house, it can be really hard to seek opportunities where you really feel as though you’re doing something worthwhile. And since us chronically ill folk genuinely have so much to offer, it’s time we look at ways of getting around these hurdles.

So, today let me introduce to you to a few potential lines of interest where you can volunteer from home. Whilst they’re not specifically related to the pandemic, I’m sure you’ll agree that the charity sector and those they work with could do with your support now more than ever. We’ll start with the more defined and established schemes, and then move on to more general suggestions for how you can use your initiative to find opportunities that really utilise your skills…

View PostVolunteering From Home – Flexible, Inclusive Opportunities For All

Chronic Illness And Self-Worth In A Global Pandemic

horizontal graphic featuring dark background with bed, pillows and light, with the words 'chronic illness and self-worth in a global pandemic' in white text

I don’t need to tell you that for the UK’s general population, day-to-day living has drastically changed. For the first time in a generation, all individuals and households are facing restrictions on their freedom and independence, and at the time of writing, there’s no clear indication as to just how long this will go on for. We’re being exposed to countless stories of not only the victims and key workers of this global pandemic, but of everyday people struggling to go about their work, socialising and everyday life from within the confines of their own four walls.

Meanwhile, over here in casa de Pippa, it’s pretty much been business as usual.

Don’t get me wrong, I can foresee huge threats to my freelance work coming up in the next few months, but generally speaking, my day-to-day living has been relatively unchanged since all of this began. My career has already been designed to be as home-centred as possible to accommodate my health needs, I’ve acclimatised to not seeing other human beings on a regular basis, and over the years I’ve become pretty blummin’ experienced in proactively participating in the world from my bed.

In theory, then, you’d perhaps expect that I’m doing grand at the moment. I’m just as surprised as you might be that this hasn’t quite been the case.

On reflection, there are two main issues that I feel are affecting me, and most likely many other chronically ill people, as a consequence of the UK-lockdown…

View PostChronic Illness And Self-Worth In A Global Pandemic