Kelsey: First two weeks have been a blast!
Kelsey, 16, from Watford started at The Royal National College for the Blind this term. He looks back at his first two weeks, already action packed and full of laughs.
‘My parents helped me unpack and left me to it. I knew I had to pluck up the courage to knock on the room next door and introduce myself but I was actually terrified! I was standing in the corridor for what seemed to be a lifetime!’
‘Once I got over the initial stage fright, it has been crazy how quickly I have settled in. I have thrown myself into everything and kept myself really busy. My timetable is full, I also do extra-curricular things like goalball. Socially I am doing a lot more than I ever have before, just little things, like eating breakfast together with mates, or hanging out in the common room in the evening.’
Kelsey was previously in a mainstream school and had a number of teaching and learning support assistants with him throughout the day:
‘The lessons are a lot different to mainstream. The small class sizes make it easy to get involved in discussions which means I am lot more confident in speaking up. All my work is there when I need it, either in braille or in speech; that rarely happened in school.’
‘I also have Living Skills and Mobility Lessons here which I didn’t have at school. I have already done an off-campus lesson and learnt a route to the local shop.’
Living away from home
When asked about living away from home, Kelsey is quick to point out how his skills and independence have grown:
‘In the halls, life is pretty chilled out. There are always people to hang out with, it’s fun but also noisy at times. We use the kitchens a lot and try to cook a few healthy meals in the evenings. So far, we have managed a pasta dish and some salads. Don’t tell my mum, but I have also bought some ready meals!’
‘In the two first weeks I have learnt to change my duvet which I couldn’t have done before. I have also been food shopping with friends and started to cook some of my own meals, there is no way I thought I’d learn things that quickly.’
Already looking forward to the rest of the year, Kelsey has his thoughts on his long term aspirations:
‘Later in the year I have the opportunity to go on the French trip, and then hopefully the German trip before summer. I am also looking forward to work experience week. I hope to get a placement within journalism. I would like to go university abroad to study European Politics and French, I have looked at Paris, Berlin or Amsterdam so it’s great that I might be able to visit these places.’
When asked about his social life, Kelsey keeps himself busy:
‘I am also volunteering for Guide Dogs on their Children and Young Peoples campaigns. They have asked me to talk at their family weekends to parents and young people. On top of this, I am still trying find time to play as much Goalball as possible.’
‘I text home a bit to keep in touch so they know that I am ok. I’m so busy socially and it’s great! I’ve not been bored since I’ve got here.’
If you are you considering your education options, why not visit our next Open Day to discover more on how we support young people to gain the independence they need for their own future. Or call our Student Enquirers on 01432 376 621 to arrange an individualised visit.