My name is Kevin and I’m the Marketing and Comms Officer here at LOOK. A few years ago, I was getting ready for my first freshers week, as a totally blind undergraduate. Here are some handy tips you may find useful as you get stuck in.
Manage your money
Freshers week can be expensive. All those club nights, trips to the pub and travel to freshers fairs, can become really expensive. Don’t be tempted like I was to be generous and buy everyone drinks, your funds can run out really quickly that way. Budget and make sure to use your student card to get discounts in the shops!
Be open about your visual impairment
I get it. It’s a new environment, there’s lots of new people, you don’t know how they will react to your visual impairment. I worried about all this before going to uni. I soon discovered however, that just as there were those who judged there were plenty of others who didn’t care about my visual impairment and accepted me for who I was. On the first day, I went into the kitchen, introduced myself and told my flatmates to ask me any questions they had. This was a good way to bust any myths and show people they didn’t have to be awkward around me. I also swapped numbers with my flatmates. Apart from being a friendly gesture this was helpful in case we got separated on a night out and I needed to get in touch.
Join a society
Most universities have societies you can join. Whether that’s a politics society or a Harry Potter Fans society, there’s something for everyone. Joining a society is a brilliant way to meet people who share similar interests as you, which is always a great way for making new friends.
Get in touch with your student services
If you haven’t already, make sure to give your student services a call. They can tell you about important events and can help with providing you with a note taker for lectures.
From knowing where your cane is at all times (trust me my flatmates weren’t too happy when I kept asking where I’d chucked my cane) to meeting your uni deadlines, make sure to stay organised. Once you miss one deadline, it can all begin to start piling up.
Brush up on your daily living skills
Freshers week might be a time to eat out most nights, but you’ll soon find you can’t do that all the time. If you haven’t learned how to cook yet, don’t worry. I was in the same position, so I called up adult social services and got myself booked on to dedicated cooking sessions, where I was taught how to cut up food safely and use the microwave, oven and hob. You’ll be cooking in no time!
Sign up to our uni mentoring scheme
Going to university is daunting enough, but when you’re visually impaired it does have unique challenges. This is why we’ve set-up a uni mentoring scheme, where we can match you with a visually impaired graduate, who can talk you through everything from applying for Disability Students Allowance, to getting work put into an accessible format. If you want to speak to one of our mentors, contact Ruth Storey on:
Youth@look-uk.org or call 07826 795033