Well I’m still loving college. Granted things arent fully started yet, its all still the induction process, so pretty boring stuff. We havent done any course work yet. Basically all we’ve done is have a couple presentations on what the programme will look like, on the rules and regulations, and signed some documents, about our rights as students and our responsibilities and also we had to sign the internet usage policy. We also talked about misconduct, and the things that are considered misconduct and the consequences of that. We had a talk from the rehabilitation officer, the resource teacher, and the manager of the college. We have to do health and safety and manual handling which is also part of the health and safety process. The manual handling will be done tomorrow. The instructors told us today their giving us Friday off so I was delighted to hear that. Early mornings are so hard. I’m still getting used to getting up early and it hasnt fully hit me yet but I did notice I do get very tired in the evenings. I stayed behind today after class to talk to the instructor about accessibility stuff and all that hasnt been fully ironed out yet. We mostly talked about the exams and getting them in an accessible format. We talked about me possibly getting a reader to read the text in my typing timed exams, an actual reader as in a person who can do that. We also talked about me possibly having alternative questions set if there were ones I couldnt answer due to their being images etc that my screen reader wont read. I’m not worried because I know these things will be ironed out over time. As I said to the instructor today there is always a way around something, sometimes you just have to look hard to find it. I found out that when it comes to work experience we have to find our own, I was under the impression that the school would find it for us. they do help you to get your resume ready, apply for jobs, do interviews etc but they do expect that you will be instramental in finding your own placement. Again I wont worry for now, it wont be happening for another year yet. The people in my class are really nice. Everyone is friendly and they have all been really helpful to me which I am grateful for. I’m really enjoying it and long may it continue.
So today was my first day of school. And it was great. I didnt sleep too well last night, only managing 2 hours in total. After getting up at 7:45, I showered and ate a bowl of cerial and drank some coffee. I had to leave at 9:45 AM. Normally class starts at 9 but because this is just the induction week its starting at 10:30 each day, with a 9 AM start on Thursday. When I got there the instructors were on their coffee break. But one of them came over to me and she made a point of asking me what I wanted to tell the other class members about Nitro, and whether I wanted to do it myself or have her do it for me. I told her to let them know not to pat him if he was working, and also not to feed him. She also asked me if I was ok with people helping me around the building, I said yes I’d welcome that. At 10:30 we went in to our class and started the induction process. Basically its going to take 3 weeks, they’re easing us into the course I think. Today we just went over the rules of the college, we talked about sick days and holidays and annual leave, we discussed our weekly payment and the school secretary came in and we had to sign forms so that we could be put on their system. The manager of the college also came to talk to us for a couple of minutes. We will have 3 instructors on the course, all female. There are 8 modules, including word processing, spreadsheets, database, the internet, work experience, communications, etc. At the end of each module there is an exam. At the end of our first year we will recieve our qualification. Then we can go on to do work experience in the second year, some people do and some dont. Some choose to just get their initial qualification and then leave. The instructor told us that every Monday the instructors have to do admin work for an hour and a half so we will have a 10:30 AM start on Mondays. Thats nice at the start of the week, not to have to get up super early after the weekend. I was pretty nervous this morning going in but once I got there the nervousness disapated and I settled down. The instructor told us of the supports which are available to us while we’re there. Some of which are a psychologist to talk to us if we’re struggling or need outside resources, a rehabilitation officer who we can talk to if things are impacting our training, a resource teacher to help if your struggling with maths or english etc. Of course I’ll also have Eileen and Dr barry and Mark the OT too. So I am very lucky with the supports that I have. Overall though it was a great day and a great start and I am very happy with how today went.
Its been a pretty good weekend. Yesterday morning my pa came as she always does on saturday morning. she cleaned my house for me, did things like vacuming, washed dishes, putting laundry on to wash, mopped the floors etc. Then we went to the vets to get Nitros food and have him weighed. He’s lost another kilo, thats 2.2 pounds. Now he’s 35.1 kilos, or about 72 pounds. So he’s a pretty good weight. But he still has to lose another 2 or so pounds. The vet said he looks fabulous though. She kept calling him niro instead of nitro lol. A lot of people do that. after the vets we went to the beauticians so i could get my lip and eyebrows waxed. I usually dont mind the pain of the waxing but yesterday it kinda hurt a lot. i was glad when it was all over. after the beauticians we went to get my groceries. i went to aldie’s, which is a pretty cheap store and i managed to get lots without spending an astronomical amount of money. So I was pretty pleased with myself about that. We came back to my house then and I had lunch. Then I had a thought to enqure about possibly going away for a spa weekend, me and my sister had talked about possibly giving our mom a present for xmas of a weekend break to a hotel and spa, of course we’d go too. so i spent some time pricing those weekends. then i got my pa to drop me to moms house. the rest of saturday afternoon was nice. i went to a local park with my mom and sister and the two kids. unfortunately i had to sit in the car because there was lots of wasps and i am terrified to be anywhere near them. they kept trying to land on me because i had perfume on. after the kids finished in the park we decided to go for a walk, there is a trail you can walk on which is nice, and i did end up going on the walk too. it took about half an hour and it was really good and at least i got my exercise in for the day. after that came back to moms, ate dinner, and then watched some tv. then last night my two aunts came to my moms, and mom and them had some drinks but i didnt. because i am watching my weight i havent drank in over 2 months. i layed in bed late today and its been a pretty relaxed sorta day. had dinner and then came back home to my own house. now getting organised for college tomorrow. will be starting tomorrow and am so nervous but also excited about it. i bought a new outfit of jeans and a new dress top to wear tomorrow. i have to leave the house at 9:45 AM, since its only our first week its different times to what it will be going forward. i’m excited to meet staff and students and see who is gonna be on the course with me.
Here it is, my care plan, the plan I made with Mark my OT, for managing and overcoming anxiety around starting school. Feedback is appreciated.
Management Strategies Identified
- Anticipation and Preparation
- Breathing techniques
- Body Scans
- Think about 3 things near to me. Sounds in the room. Sometimes require prompting.
- Use quiet room
- Time out and collect thoughts. Perhaps toilet break. If triggered can use water.
What am I looking forward to:
Learning new things
Building computer skills
Getting into the workforce
Having a satisfying routine
Structure to the day
Something to get up for in the morning
What do I see as obstacles to course engagement:
- Instructors not knowing about jaws or equipment
- Equipment breaking down
- Lack of awareness about dog
- Not familiar with spreadsheets etc and difficulty with such
- Concerns about becoming unwell and unstable
- Work Placement and finding the right placement Will companies want to take me on
- Mobilising around the building
- Exams and exam process (Will I get to do the exams on same day)
What Strategies can I use to overcome obstacles?
- Ring Brain Manning form NCB and he can give training on Jaws as it is specialised equipment. I can help out re commands etc. On email support lists and I can get answers from this around technology supports.
- They have tech support and also Brian Manning can help with such.
- Have had Natalie (trainer) in and if needed she could come in again. Perhaps get leaflets about guide dogs if needed. Like the Basement, people get used to the dog and more familiar. Confidence will be developed being around the dog.
- There will be individual support when needed and I will have an opportunity to confirm items and question if I have not processed information or grasped concepts.
- Use weekly appointments to discuss about impacting items from past aswell as current stressors. Prioritise what needs to be talked about. Do things in personal life to maintain wellness i.e. relationships. Basement resource centre. Fill up evenings and use distraction techniques. Talk to link worker on the course so they are aware.
- When go to do work placement anticipation and preparation will be key and using resources in NLN and outside of this to get the best opportunities available.
- I have done route familiarisation and I know much of the building. The first two weeks of induction will give me time to adjust fully. Confidence has developed already and staff have been so friendly and will be helpful if required.
- The exams are every 6 weeks approximately. It is continuous assessment as opposed to one exam at the end of the year. This takes stress off. I have initiated availing of extra time and supports for exam to maximise likelihood of best outcomes. I will link in with my key support worker in NLN leading up to exams and discuss any concerns as they arise. Link with Mark (OT) leading up to exams as an aspect of exam preparation.
What preparation do I feel I need prior to commencing NLN on Sept 7th:
- Adjust sleep pattern: Starting Monday 31st August getting up at 7am and going to bed before 12. I will adjust body clock as when I commence NLN I will be getting up at 6am. This preparation will give me confidence to start the course.
- Ring Brian Manning as I need guidance on a scanning ap on the phone. This will be necessary to scan printed material on the course.
- I feel ready for the course.
The weekend was quiet and mostly uneventful. On Saturday my PA came as per usual. She cleaned my house which she always does. She vacumed, mopped the floors, did the dishes, made the bed etc. Usually I get my groceries with her but I didnt really need much this week because I had a ton of food left since my last grocery shop a week ago. But we still went to the store and I got a few things. We were meant to have a BBQ at my sisters house, but it rained so it was canceled. So that meant there was no dinner plans so at the store I bought some chicken stir fry and some noodles and thats what I ended up eating. Actually we all had it cuz my sister came over with the kids and she also brought stir fry but her one was just vegetables and noodles. I also got some fruit at the store, melon and strawberries. It had been ages since I had strawberries and when I did eat them last night and today they were delicious. Also at the store we went into one of the restaurants and ate lunch. I ended up getting a rap with turkey, cheese and bacon in it. I joked with my PA that she ends up spending loads of money when she’s with me since she always buys some stuff whenever we go out. My PA dropped me to moms when we were done and I stayed there on Saturday night. The rest of Saturday was quiet. I was sad that the BBQ was canceled as I’d been looking forward to it. But being ireland our weather is so unpredictable. I watched X factor on Saturday night, the new series just started. Sunday was also a quiet day. I got up late, it was 11 AM before I got up. My sister and her family came for dinner, and then we spent the afternoon just chatting and stuff. My aunt was using my house to teach reiki so it was almost 7 when I got home. I have a busy week ahead with appointments with my therapist tomorrow, dr Barry on wednesday, and the nutritionist on Friday. I also need to go clothes shopping on Friday with my mom. I need some new jeans and a new fleece jacket. My home help just texted me a few minutes ago to say her back is giving her trouble so she might not be in work tomorrow. I told her that was ok but that she’d have to get me some cover which she said she would. This is my last week before school starts so I plan on making the most of it.