Dyslexic tales · Masters tales

Coping strategies the university provided without realising it

3rd October 2012

First day… Did I sleep? Course not. The usual questions were running through my head. Will I keep up? Will I be liked (this is an anxiety I get)? Will I understand what they are talking about?

Now don’t get me wrong I had tried to alleviate the fears. Firstly by getting a reading list so I could get at least one book and swat up. Which I sort of had (only a quarter the way through) and for the obscure titles all I can say is thank you Amazon. The second is that I had gone to all the taster sessions that I could so that I knew as many people as possible… they are not a scary bunch. In fact they are really nice.

Which comes to the last worry… will I keep up? This is one there is no way I could know. I’ve been 8 years out of education and I was going to land feet first into a masters lecture. It didn’t get any better once I’d arrived. There where only 4 of us. Gone was the huge auditorium I was used to when studying archaeology; there I could hide. Instead there were 4 in the class and I sat in the next available seat with the lecturer taking the one next to me… Did I panic? No. But my notes began well and dwindled to headings… The important stuff that I would need to look up. Not that it’s a problem but I was getting tired. Just not used to the work. I can sit and sew toys for hours without any problem but one hour of class and I was thinking, “wow, am I sure I can do this?”

Luckily though it was on a really interesting subject – Biographies, Autobiographies and Memoirs.

Biographies are where you write about something or someone, for example ‘The biography of a germ’ and ‘The World’s Wife’

Autobiographies are a chronological look at your own life

Memoirs are a sliver of your own life, one of which is ‘Touching the Void’, probably one of the best books I’ve ever read (the movie adaption isn’t bad either).

So my assignment is to write one (or at least 3000 words) and the options are limitless. Infact by the end of the lesson I was tired but really fired up…. The lecturer (Menna Elfyn) was excellent, giving enough information that it kept you stretched but very interested. We did do two exercises in class – where you write about yourself and your experiences. One was to be read aloud and I think I did okay, and the other was not; it was just an exercise. The final one I found, when I read over it, didn’t make much sense but at least I had a go. At no time did I feel out of my depth.

The next lecture was by Dic and was on Joyce Carol Oates and we studied “Heat”. Now by this time I was tired and not thinking on all cylinders… But not only were we given a copy of the story but the lecturer read it in class. Thank you! We then analysed it and even watched a small video on YouTube that is an animated adaption. But unfortunately my notes are a mess…

Not to worry though as Trinity has stepped up with Moodle…. A dynamic learning thingy… Anyway it means that I have access to the notes! Huge sigh of relief! And my assignments (optional) are on there so I didn’t have to madly copy anything down.

By now I’m thinking, “okay maybe I can do this.”

So I know I can do this with the help of lecturers who are sympathetic to the student whether they have dyslexia or not, and with moodle. Lets just say that I smiled all the way home from my first day. I don’t think there will be any more sleepless nights.

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