I’m a student blogger and disabilities advocate who’s also in my second year here studying Spanish at Coventry University. Trying to balance all of these things can sometimes prove challenging, however, I wouldn’t change my life for the world.
A week in my life never looks the same. Sometimes it is filled with travel to conferences across the UK and even Europe, other times I am buried under a mountain of coursework. This is just one week in my life:
On Monday I woke up a little later than usual, getting extra sleep is always nice because some days I have to be up early. I spent the morning shopping with friends, enjoying the lovely weather that we’ve recently been having.
I then reached out to the tech team at Buffer, a social media scheduling company. I use their website a lot, however, there are a couple of accessibility features I was hoping they’d implement. It turns out they’re already working on it, and they invited me to beta test the feature when it’s ready. This is exciting, I love that I can offer input to something that will improve the accessibility for many users.
In the evening I published a post on my blog about an unfortunate experience I’d had at a careers event. I choose to talk about both the wonderful and the difficult aspects of my life on my blog, in the hope that it will really make people think. Sometimes bad things happen to me because I have a disability and I do experience discrimination, however, I think that by speaking about it people will be motivated to change their perceptions.
Tuesday was pretty uni-focussed. Exam season is fast approaching and that was all we could talk about in our lectures. I’ve submitted all my coursework and received some of the results, so now I’m working towards keeping my performance high in the exams. I started to draw up a revision timetable based on all the things we chatted about in the lecture. I can only hope it will help me stay on track!
When I got home I published the first post in what I hope will be a new, technology-focussed series on my blog. I reviewed ‘Instapaper’, a popular app that lets you save links and articles to read later. I want to make my tech series a little different, so not only do I look at the more standard features, I also comment on overall accessibility.
I was surprised to see the immediate attention this post received. When starting a new series of posts you can never quite be sure how interested people will be, but several readers messaged me to say they found the review and app useful.
I decided to take a bit of a break on Wednesday. I put the blog and my other work aside and went to watch the new Smurfs film with a friend. I should probably confess that I’d never seen anything to do with the Smurfs before, so it was a very new experience for me!
The Odeon here in Coventry is great for blind visitors as they offer audio description on every film they show. This is a track that plays alongside the film, describing the action. Therefore, when I get to the cinema they give me a headset that I can wear during the film to hear the description track.
I suppose it’s fair to say that I’m a Smurfs convert! The film was funny, but also embarrassingly, it made me cry multiple times! I then headed back to my friend’s house where we had a few drinks and baked Easter cupcakes complete with many eggs.
Thursday morning saw me heading into university to talk to another lecturer about my exams. This semester has been very intense with a lot of reading. I was a little confused about one of the modules and what exactly I should be doing. Thankfully, she was able to answer all my questions and I left feeling much more relaxed.
I needed to send a few emails as Disabled Survivors Unite (DSU), the organisation I co-founded is working on a big project now, so I settled in to write those up and make sure they were sent off on time. I then headed to town to ask about setting up a bank account for us, booking myself an appointment with the business manager. All of these things are new to me, but I’m so glad I have the opportunity to get real world experience whilst also studying.
Friday turned out to be a mixture of work and fun. I had to work on a few more bits and pieces for DSU, but I also went into town again with a friend. This time it was to pick up some travel money as on Monday, I’d be heading to LA to visit my boyfriend who lives out there. I’m clearly a very last minute person leaving it this late!!!
A couple of us went out for dinner and we chatted about my up-coming study abroad placement. I was nervous because I hadn’t yet found out where I was going to go and I felt like time was moving so quickly. I was extremely surprised and so happy to get home to find I’d received an emailing confirming my placement at EAFIT University in Medellín Colombia. I’ll be leaving at the beginning of July. I’d so wanted to study in Latin America, so to find out that it will actually be happening means a lot.
Saturday and Sunday
The weekend was a blur. I realised that I wasn’t ready to go to the US in the slightest, so I spent my time rushing around, doing laundry and trying to pack. I still managed to go out with friends on Saturday and on Sunday and I made a new video for my YouTube channels. Making videos has been almost impossible this semester, as I’ve just had so much work. I wanted to get something uploaded before I left for America, so I decided to tackle answering a question many of my followers ask me: “How much can I actually see?” Not an easy question to answer, but I tried to do it in a way people would understand.
So, that’s a week in my life. Busy, exciting and most of all filled with both work and time with friends. I’d like to think that I’m getting the balance right, hard though it might be.