People keep asking how it feels to be back at uni again after my leave of absence and honestly it feels really good at the moment.
I like having a routine for my life and while university is generally quite unstructured and requires a lot of self-study, I do still have a timetable of lectures to attend so this helps to shape my schedule. In addition, now that uni is back in full swing there are many more regular social events which I try to attend.
I feel a lot better than I did this time last year, my pain is more under control and I have different painkillers I can take if I have a flare up. I am in a better place mentally and this means a lot of my interest in the maths I'm learning has returned.
I took out some books from the library thus year for the first time in all my years at uni, and I think this highlights how much more engaged and interested I feel this year.
I've also switched up my module choice from last year and I'm now taking an enterprise module instead of two maths modules. It's an interdisciplinary group based module where we have to work as a team to come up with and present a business plan for a social enterprise which solves a world hunger or malnutrition problem. It heavily involves problem-solving which I've realised I'm very good at and I enjoy a great deal.
Due to my partner suggesting that I'd be really good at enterprise and entrepreneurship I signed up for an enterprise event based around Assisstive Technologies which took place here in Sheffield at the beginning of September. On arriving I was very anxious and in the welcome area there wasn't much seating so I was in pain for a short time while I waited for the event to start.
However, once we got going I quickly got over this anxiety and began to really enjoy myself.
Over the course of the day my group had to come up with a solution to help people with hearing loss receive travel announcements on public transport. We heard from a representative from Action on Hearing Loss how people with hearing loss often struggle on public transport as there are often announcements containing important information about delays or changes which they miss. This can lead to them missing their stop or being unaware of travel disruptions.
With the support of the univserity enterprise department staff we very quickly developed an idea for a solution and presented it at the end of the day. My group won the second place prize and I think we actually created a concept which could be taken forward into a business.
The success of this day really boosted my confidence and helped me to feel that I could take part in events like this in the future, including the enterprise module. This module involves group work and a presentation, both are aspects I've found challenging in the past. However, it's been a lot better so far than previous group work as everyone has chosen to be there rather than being forced into group work on a compulsory module.
If you'd told me even a couple of years ago that I'd be choosing to do this module I would definitely not have believed you, but here I am. I think this shows how far I have come and how much my self-confidence has developed over the past few years.
The topic of world hunger and malnutrition isn't something I'd have identified as a huge interest of mine, but I can apply my problem solving skills to almost anything and that then leads me to become more passionate about it.
The first few weeks of uni are the easiest though and it's when it becomes a monotonous drag that I start to struggle. I really hope I can keep up my routine, doing things which help with my self care as well as keeping on top of all my work as the term progresses.
I am starting to feel the stress of trying to fit in my part time work alongside work I need to do for my course, but at the moment this is manageable. I don't feel overwhelmed and I'm still finding enjoyment in what I'm doing.