Overcoming Barriers and Hurdles.

Hey everyone!

As it's my birthday month - yep I'll be the grand age of 30!! I've been thinking about how my life has turned out since I completed my A-Levels in 2008 and where I am now. It's funny looking back... When I started my A-Levels, I was really determined to do journalism and studied the following subjects; Media Studies, English Language, General Studies, Law, GCSE Sociology,  GCSE Art & Design and Numeracy. I worked my little self hard and did the best I could. It wasn't easy. Thankfully I had wonderful staff who helped me along the way. I received 2 awards whilst at Sixth Form; an in college and also the Excellence in Cumbria award; a county award. These were presented to me because of me overcoming barriers and hurdles in education. Two very proud moments! 
I secured myself a place at the former Institute of the Arts in Carlisle with a conditional offer based on whether I would have enough support (they were very impressed with me academically wise) but after trying to sort out care, I had to eventually not go ahead with this. It was purely down to not having enough care outside of lessons. This made me feel a bit defeated but not totally deterred. 
I then decided to do an Access course at my local college which is now the University of Cumbria and during the interview, they said I was too advanced to do this so they enrolled me on their Combined Honours degree in Sociology, Psychology and Criminology. I was surprised by this but soon prepared myself for the new start. After not hearing from them about my start date and timetable, I started to feel a bit like what's going on?? So I got in contact with them and they finally told me that they decided to 'drop' the course. This made me feel very disappointed and let down. 
Some time later I came across an online creative course called The Writers Bureau and found myself enrolling on it. They sent me all the information and course study books. I managed to get to the fourth assignment and found myself struggling. When I was at Sixth Form, I had one to one support and this is what I was missing so I haven't finished the writing course to this day. At least I received good feedback about the assignments that I did manage to complete. My health issues had slowly started to creep in at this point, as well. 
A couple of years later, which was around 2 years ago, I took part in a social media workshop at the local Signal Films centre which I enjoyed. The only snag was that I was already using the social medias that they taught so I happily helped the other 'students' using my knowledge and explaining what the mentor was showing or talking about. Despite being bunged up with a cold and sore throat, I enjoyed it and it made me feel good helping others out. 
Nowadays, I focus on running my EDS (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) awareness campaign by having my Facebook page, creating video diaries on YouTube, tweeting on Twitter and having an EDS account on Instagram. Every year, I try to have a craft stall selling my handmade crafts with half of the money going towards my Ehlers-Danlos Support UK fund. I have gained the support of my local MP, John Woodcock and even had an article written by the lovely Robyn Durdy in the local newspaper; North West Evening Mail. 
I have recently had my review about the movie; Starred Up published on the Signal Films website which I feel proud of. It's a good feeling seeing something that you have written printed somewhere where the public can see it. 
Now looking back; I have certainly had my successes and also my disappointing, discouraging periods but these help me be where I am at now. My aims and ambitions have certainly changed but I am slowly working my way towards my new goals. 
My goals are; 
- Raising awareness about Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and getting it out there on a wider audience. I would love to take part in doing talks to both medics and the public. 
- Creating BETTER videos for YouTube. By this, using the best editing software that is available to me and perhaps getting out in the community talking about EDS with the camera. 
- Keep writing reviews for movies, shows and dining out (maybe). Hopefully have them published too.
- Start work on a book. I have always wanted to write books but never really known what genre or type. The chosen topic would be about living with EDS, like an autobiography. 
- I'd like to take part in a dress making course/workshop to further my embroidery skills. 
- Doing a continual project with John Woodcock and Robyn Durdy to raise awareness about EDS within the community. 
- Lastly, do a basic course in Criminology. I have a passion for how the mind works in the criminal field and to basically expand my knowledge. 
I feel proud to be where I am and know that I will enjoy working on my goals. It gives me something positive to focus on and to work towards. Although a part of me feels like I missed out on Uni life, I feel it was meant to be. It wasn't the right path and now it has led me to where I am now. 
Thank you for reading this post. x

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