University and Fibro...

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University and Fibro...

Postby SuperCat007 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:15 pm

Hello I'm not sure if this is indeed the right place to post this, it's my first post but I hope it is! Bit of an essay, sorry.

Well I wondered if anyone had any advice or anything at all about the situation I have found myself in. I'm 23, I've had a diagnosis of Fibro for about 2 years and one of CFS since 2006, since I got ill I have been doing everything possible to try to get to uni. Finally, this year I got in and I started in September at a uni about 1 hr 30 mins from home. I knew it would be quite difficult, but for the most part I was better, I was playing sports, running and working 12+ hour shifts at work; so I wasn't too worried about the workload etc.

The problems started after the first week, I stayed up too late all week but I figured like normal I could rest up over the weekend and feel better. I got 'Fresher's Flu' and was really quite unwell, the usual fresher uni student perils.

BUT I was in a house (uni accommodation) full of 18 yo's who had a maximum of 8 hours of lectures a week (I had 18! I'm doing a science subject) so all they did was stay up late, get drunk and have parties(for the whole 12 weeks, at least 2-3 nights EVERY week). In week 2 I was getting fed up with being woken up multiple times so I talked with the Senior Resident who told me to go to the Accommodation Office and ask to move and he would talk to the flat. Well I got little help or advice from Accommodation they just thrust a folder at me and said 'there you go, here's all the free rooms email the people and move'. The SR's speech was USELESS I more or less took over half way through and obviously nobody took heed. I moved twice in weeks 3 and 8 thanks to kindly students, and I had to return home every weekend after week 2 because I was so tired.

This went on for weeks, and weeks, and weeks. I phoned the duty Senior Residents, security, I tried to complain to accommodation, I told my tutor, I tired to get a counselling appointment, I told my 'disability adviser' multiple times, but nobody seemed all that bothered. It got to about week 9 and after yet another night of being kept up until the early hours (4 am that morning) I gave in and went home and couldn't get back at all. I had one night there in week 11 and the people from my previous flat got drunk and shouted, screamed, chanted and ran about outside my window until about 1 am.

The uni want me to intercalate (pause my studies for a year), but I'm not keen because it has taken me so long to get here. I have even been told that this is just university life and some people just can't cope with it. I have one senior lecturer on my side, but the Christmas holidays are nearly over and I am still exhausted all the time and in a lot of pain and I really don't think I can go back. I just never want to stay there again, my confidence has been completely shaken and I feel utterly useless and like a complete failure. I'm shocked at the university's attitude and absolutely devastated that I have gone from being happy and healthy to being unable to anything at all again, I have lost my life (again!).

I have to try to go back, but I just wondered if anyone had any advice or experiences they could share. I really feel like the uni should and could have done more, but what can I do??

Sorry for the essay.
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Re: University and Fibro...

Postby fruity72 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:24 pm

have you considered doing an OU course that way you could study from home. That's what I done. Not sure if this was what you were looking for but it may be an option
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Re: University and Fibro...

Postby SuperCat007 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:51 pm

Hi thanks Fruity. I have done 2 years with the OU and it was after a funding problem with them which was blamed on me that I decided to go for uni. I would consider going back to the OU, but the only support I have at home is my mum who has RA and I'm not sure if I can cope with being that isolated again. Though it isn't that different at my uni now.

p.s. sorry if that post seems a little prima donna, I know a lot of you are going through a lot worse. I'm just at such a loss and I feel like I'm out there on my own battling whilst all the drunks there are allowed to continue on their merry way. :-? Anyway thanks, you know sometimes you just need to get it out because it's driving you mad rattling around in your head all day and night?! :crazy:
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Re: University and Fibro...

Postby shazq » Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:59 pm

:welcome: to the forum Cat :wave:

I was going to say the same as fruity, can you study from home? it will be much better for you plus you can do it in your own time.
Have a chat to you disability adviser to see if it can be arranged. :goodluck1:
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Re: University and Fibro...

Postby moonhare » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:29 pm

Hello Supercat007
I was in a similar situation quite some time ago now, for yes, university students are really just young people let off the leash as they're living away from home - often for the first time - and they still have some growing up to do. So without being rude to you, your problems are the least thing on their mind.....which is a shame, for at heart they are probably all decent members of society and in later years will most likely be mortified at the way their behaviour affected you.

So, my suggestion is this........

Consider taking a year out as has been suggested to you. Use the time to recover and re - plan!

Find out if there is someone local to the uni (but not near student houses) with a private house who takes in lodgers and see if you can rent a room/stay with them whilst you are studying.Check out the area, ask the house owners if they are quiet living people, tell them your needs (you don't necessarily have to tell them of your condition, just that you need peace and quiet), that way you will be in control.

I did this and found a lovely couple who were just like an aunt and uncle to me, and it made everything so much easier to know they cared enough for me to succeed. They did my laundry and cooked my meals, and even helped me with my studying. In return I helped them where I could in little ways.........and we're still in touch today!

Obviously this will need to be paid for, so again, spend the year finding out what grants/allowances etc are available for private rental from absolutely anywhere you can think of....there has got to be a way....for you deserve it. Fighting your health, the students behaviour/attitudes and everything else is practically impossible, but a step back for a short while (and it will go quicker than you think) with only accommodation and it's funds to deal with will make it so much easier.

If you can do this it will make you independent of the university, the lecturers and the students, so that you can then, at the end of a day, go back to your haven of peace, whilst they carry on regardless, that way, everyone's happy.

You have not lost your life again - as you say, it just needs to be approached from another angle. :goodluck2:
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Re: University and Fibro...

Postby FluppyPuffy » Mon Dec 31, 2012 7:42 pm

:welcome: to the forum Cat :wave: :wave: :wave:

Sorry to hear what you're experiencing with fellow students and their night time escapades. As much as it is a part of uni culture, it doesn't suit every single student.

I was going to make similar suggestions to what moonhare has said. With the advice being written from similar experiences to yours, it's been covered in a far better way that what I would have been able to do. I can't think of anything else that I can add to it.

Altho the year out isn't your ideal option, it is worth giving it some serious consideration, esp if you find going back this time equally problematic.

:goodluck2: :goodluck2: :goodluck2: :goodluck2:
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Re: University and Fibro...

Postby denys » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:31 pm

Hi Cat and :welcome: to the forum :wave: I really hope you can sort out Uni and find a way through all of this :fingerscrossed: :fingerscrossed: :fingerscrossed: :fingerscrossed: sorry I havent any advice for you just wanted to wish you luck with it all
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Re: University and Fibro...

Postby Iceskatemum » Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:02 am

Hi Cat sorry you are feeling so down about uni, it is meant to be such a special time in your life.

In one way reading about how little help you have had from the university is quite shocking but in another way it is not surprising . If you look at the situation from thier point of view they probably see housing issues as outside thier remit , they may hold a list of available accomodation but given everyone is an adult they may feel its not up to them to police it.
There is a uni close to me and over the years certain streets have become the "student area" , there has been widespread publicity in the local press about anti social behaviour and how local people are having such a difficult time with excessive drinking /parties /late night noise etc. The uni didn't really want to know until the police started to put pressure on them so you aren't on your own with your dispair over such behaviour.

As for taking the year out ......In one way the Uni are probably on your side by offering you a year out , being a science subject I imagine you have a lot of lab, practical & tutorial work to do and so given attendance issues they probably feel that you might have missed out vital parts of the year. I appreciate that you may feel taking it is giving in but your health is more important and waiting until September will give you the opportunity to recharge your batteries & possibly work a few more hours to increase you nest egg .

Accomodation wise Moonhares suggestion is very good, another option is to see if you can get accomodation with some postgraduates again off campus They are usually just that little bit older than first time students and so have already got the wildness out of thier system and are concentrating on thier studies.

Hope this helps and good luck with what ever you decide.
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Re: University and Fibro...

Postby jennthefunkyranger » Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:50 pm

I agree with the suggestion about living as a lodger - you'll probably get better accommodation, and it'll be quieter too. I was a lodger when living abroad, and it meant I got a big room in a nice house in a nice part of the city, all bills included, loads cheaper than a small flat in a rougher part of the city.

Alternatively, does your budget stretch to living alone? My sister doesn't have fibro, but had similar noise problems to you last year. She now lives in a maisonette on her own, with a cat, and she's happier that way. As she has the cat, the estate agent allowed her to live in a property they won't normally let to students as they figured the cat would make her more responsible and less likely to go out and come in late at night noisily. If you explained when searching about the fibro, maybe that would convince an estate agent to let you somewhere they don't normally let to students, so in a quieter area?

Which uni are you at? Someone on here might be able to suggest something if they are local
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Re: University and Fibro...

Postby SuperCat007 » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:00 pm

Hello and thank you for your replies, sorry for my delay in replying back.

I have considered living off-campus, but for now after seeing quite a few houses none were really suitable. But that will change for next year. After having a day out yesterday and being utterly exhausted by it now I think I will probably have to have until September out, but I am going to go back on Sunday and see how it goes for a couple of weeks. The thing I'm most worried about is finances, I am fine with my loan, but they will stop it if I drop out and I'll have to battle with them for them to keep paying a fraction of it; if they decide I qualigy. I am not in a situation where my mum can keep me, so money will be non-existent, I know I won't qualify for DSA(or whatever they call it now) because I never have, and university would be easier than a job right now so that isn't much of an option either, plus I don't have a car and public transport around here only goes to one town! Any advice on that note?

I have also decided to put in an application for a different course (still science) at a different uni which is close enough to home to mean that I can commute each day. It will be about an hour each way, but I managed to do this when I was doing my A-levels a couple of years ago until 3 family bereavements in 2 1/2 years meant I became too ill to complete them! :crazy: The uni isn't as good, but maybe living at home will mean that I can complete my degree and get into a post grad course which is the aim anyway.

I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place at the moment, dropping out really scares me because there is NO money to live on for a year. But not dropping out means I have to force myself to go somewhere I have grown to hate and to do it when I'm feeling awful most of the time. What a pain.

I really appreciate your responses though and I'm glad to hear that other people have got through it.
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Re: University and Fibro...

Postby charley » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:32 am

I FEEL YOUR PAIN!!! I'm in Halls at the moment, and for me it is my own personal hell at times! Esp with fire alarms going off at 5am and half the building being loud inconsiderate idiots! :hit1: :swear1:
Have you tried sleeping with headphones playing music? Or you can get "speaker pillows" which play music while you sleep? That sometimes helps me :)
Hope it doesn't get you down too much! :hugs:
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Re: University and Fibro...

Postby KellyBelly » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:50 am

Sorry to hear about your struggle - it truly does suck being an older fresher. Most freshers (as you know) are so young, away from home for the first time and for most courses yr1 has little to no meaning on your final classification - this means most freshers let loose completely and have no regard for those of you who actually have to do work in yr1.

Is there a big postgrad population at your uni? If so, is there any chance of your accommodation office offering you a place in their halls? (If it's any thing like my uni was - the postgrad students are kept separate purely for the reason that their studying was classed as "more important" :roll: ). Did you say you were in your early 20s? If so - you'd be with likeminded people your own age too (which would help massively).

Which uni are you at (if you don't mind me asking)?

Kelly
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Re: University and Fibro...

Postby SuperCat007 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:18 pm

Thanks for your replies again. I did try to sleep with ear plugs, my MP3 player and a pillow over my head but it was still extremely loud. I recorded some of the noise the last night I was there on my Dictaphone and it was so loud it just goes all static-ey if that makes sense...

I don't know about post grads, I know there are post grad flats but I have never been offered a place in one of them.

The annoying thing is that the uni were breaking the disability discrimination act by telling me I just had to get on with it, but now we have pointed that out to them they are offering for me to move. But the rooms are still not that suitable (top floor of 3 and lots of stairs) and it is all too late. They didn't uphold their end of the agreement, I really don't know what to do!
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Re: University and Fibro...

Postby Iceskatemum » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:31 pm

As we can get very over whelmed by the big picture I think for your own sake you need to break all that is happening to you into little blocks and ask yourself a few questions.

The first obviously is ............do I want to continue on my present course and at my present university.

If No then you have to think of alternatives (which you seemed to have outlined before)
If yes then you have to see how you can best get over and move on from your current situation.

Do you have a personal tutor you can speak to /can he/she act as a go between with both the academic side of the Uni & the accomodation side.

If you still wish to keep on at the uni then you need to get accomodation sorted asap. Talk to the accomodation advisors tell them that what they have sugessted fall short of "reasonable adjustment" under the DDA as you can't climb stairs etc.

Talk to them about post grad accomodation , they may not have thought about it themselves given you are still an undergrad but may allow you to take it up given your special circumstances.

Above all try not to get too stressed as that won't help the FM . It may feel like the end of everything but if you do have to take time out , use that to find suitable accomodation for next year and discuss your needs with the university disability advisor.

I know nothing about benefits or student funding but I would advise you not to make judgments based on what others say , discuss this issue with the disabilty advisor who if they can't help should be able to point you in the right direction.

Take care
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Re: University and Fibro...

Postby SuperCat007 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:41 pm

Iceskatemum wrote:As we can get very over whelmed by the big picture I think for your own sake you need to break all that is happening to you into little blocks and ask yourself a few questions.

The first obviously is ............do I want to continue on my present course and at my present university.

If No then you have to think of alternatives (which you seemed to have outlined before)
If yes then you have to see how you can best get over and move on from your current situation.

Do you have a personal tutor you can speak to /can he/she act as a go between with both the academic side of the Uni & the accomodation side.

If you still wish to keep on at the uni then you need to get accomodation sorted asap. Talk to the accomodation advisors tell them that what they have sugessted fall short of "reasonable adjustment" under the DDA as you can't climb stairs etc.

Talk to them about post grad accomodation , they may not have thought about it themselves given you are still an undergrad but may allow you to take it up given your special circumstances.

Above all try not to get too stressed as that won't help the FM . It may feel like the end of everything but if you do have to take time out , use that to find suitable accomodation for next year and discuss your needs with the university disability advisor.

I know nothing about benefits or student funding but I would advise you not to make judgments based on what others say , discuss this issue with the disabilty advisor who if they can't help should be able to point you in the right direction.

Take care


THANK YOU!

It's really easy to get overwhelmed, there's so much to it.
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