What it’s like being both sides of the campus! by Sharon Lees
Which head is on first today? I’m staff this morning, studying over lunch and a student in a practical this afternoon, and staff again later clearing up a different practical. Working full time in the School of Sciences as well as studying for a degree there is a juggling act. I have two diaries, an outlook calendar that sends reminders to my phone and personal calendar, also linked to my phone, and numerous post-its and lists dotted around various desks and bags. I’m nearly forty and lucky if I can remember to put my shoes on instead of walking out for work in my slippers.
Fellow students think I have an easy ride because I work here. No. I work in Forensic Science and am studying Biomedical Science. Very different areas. One ignores that I am a member of staff because I am a student. One doesn’t take me seriously as a student because I do not attend socials and pub nights.
Staff think I know what I am doing because I am staff, and are very cautious of seeming to give me assistance in case it is viewed as favouritism. I feel I have to do well, or how will they view me?
I have two children who think I know what I am doing because I am a parent, and can’t understand why I want to fall into bed at six o’clock but have to stay up until eleven pouring over text books. My daughter was in hospital for almost two years, but I still have a mortgage to pay. My depression I have suffered since eleven years old doesn’t understand that I need a clear head and to be able to remember things, and likes to fog my brain for months with blackness. My dog doesn’t understand I cannot walk her when she pleases. My partner cannot understand I cannot go to the cinema and out for a meal at the weekends, I have studying to do. My house cannot understand I have no time for house work and washing and insists on generating dust and dirty crockery.
But I do enjoy it, manic and frustrating and difficult as it is. I enjoy learning, I enjoy investigating new areas of Science. I enjoy lists and organising my time (sad isn’t it) and feeling that I am achieving something every day, no matter how small it may seem at the time. Despite everything life throws at me, with the support of my colleagues and peers, my family and friends, I am still here, still earning and still studying.
Technical Support Assistant
Biomedical Science Undergraduate.