I enrolled on the HND in Computing in 1994,
following a timetable of lectures and seminars specially arranged
around me - staff had to ensure that all my classes took place
on the ground floor as the regulations covering the listed
University buildings would not allow the installation of lifts.
Two months before the course started, I ordered a new laptop
free from Humberside LEA (Local Education Authority). A few
weeks passed and still I hadnt got my laptop. I had
to use the laptop that I had from five years before, but it
is so slow my tortoise can go faster and it kept crashing,
but I battled on with it, handing in my assignments in on
time. I kept asking, "When is my new laptop coming?"
I used to get the same old story, "It's coming soon."
I thought "I bet it is!"
My brand new laptop finally arrived in March 1995. I couldn't
believe it, it was only seven months late!! I thought I was
dreaming, but no, it was the real thing.
I use a head pointer for typing, sometimes this can be a
laborious process none the less allowing me a writing speed
of approximately 12 words per minute nowadays.
However this is still slow compared to an able bodied person,
therefore I had great difficulty in keeping to assignment
deadlines and had to take two years to complete the first
level of his HND. Maybe this was due to not getting my new
laptop until March.
I made the decision to try to complete the final year in
just one year along with the other students. This presented
me with a real challenge - I had to work harder than ever
just to keep up and there were many written projects to complete.
While most students worry about exams and the total concentration
for up to
three hours, I was allowed double the time to sit this exams
because of my typing difficulties. The other students sat
three hour exams - each exam basically took all day for me.
And it was not just a matter of doing the work. I use a lot
of energy when I am typing because of my lack of speed. My
hair and T-shirt would be soaked in sweat at the end of each
When I received the letter saying I had passed, I had to
read it twice just to be sure.
After completion of a Higher National Diploma in Computing,
I decided to get transferred on to the second year of BSc
in computing. Sadly I had some disagreements with the access
and they kept forgetting about me. I failed the year by one
unit. This meant I couldnt go on the final year on the
BSC. Basically I failed one unit due to access problems, consequently
they kicked me off the course. I have worked hard to get to
this position and I thought this was unfair so I went to Humberside
Law Centre to fight my case. After 5 months we came to an
agreement. I could resit the unit for free and if I passed
I would be allowed on the final year of the BSc. I passed
the single unit with flying colours. (of course)
The final year was the biggest challenge of my life. The
final year of a degree is hard enough for an able-bodied person
so it was even harder for me, especially with a head pointer
and also I was still having access problems. Despite all the
problems I actually kept up with the able bodied students
in the semaster of the final year. In the final semanter of
the final year I had a little more time as I had to do a dissertation,
and a group project on top of the normal assignments. I did
have extra time and so did some other students.
Overall I have enjoyed doing the course, it has been a good
challenge for me, and I
have met a lot of friendly people from all over the world.
I hope my success will encourage both disabled and non-disabled
people to take that uncertain step towards higher education.
12 years ago the odds for me going to University would have
been a million to one. So everyone can achieve something in
life, but you have work hard to reach your goal. I wonder
how many people have done a degree with a head pointer?
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