Why Professor Stephen Hawking has become one of my heroes

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I’ll start this by saying that I’m absolutely hopeless at science, the only part of it I was good at was Biology, not Physics. With the release of The Theory of Everything, I took to the cinema with my friend Amy, intrigued by the story of Stephen and his Wife. I left with more than just a love for a film, but a new person to admire grately. I’d known that Stephen Hawking was one of the greatest minds on the planet for a long time, who didn’t? That said, as someone who was absolutely terrible at physics at school I never took a deep interest, until the film came out.

I watched this film and fell in love with Stephen’s determination and intelligence. I also marvelled at his then wife, Jane, who in her own right is incredibly intelligent. I watched the two of them and something awoke within me. Although not on the same level, I’ve battled with my own medical issues which time and time again have made people tell me that things I wanted weren’t possible. I read as much as I could about Stephen’s life and ambitions and used it as fuel to add to my own academic ambitions.

I’ve found myself getting angry at my body for not doing what it should and stressing out about the wheelchair, tonight I had a change of heart. I’ve spent all day either asleep or in bed with an hour here or there to eat. I ended up watching the BBC’s Dara ÓBirain meets Stephen Hawking and it made me think again, not just in terms of academics. Stephen’s had a whole life in a wheelchair, his movement and speech taken away from him and he still cracks jokes, smiles and it’s never taken away from his intelligence. I look at this as inspiration and it keeps me going while I have to use my own wheelchair.

Professor Stephen Hawking is perhaps one of the most intelligent men in the world, but there is more than that he also possibly the most persistent. He didn’t simply take his diagnoses and accept it and because of that he’s still here today. So as the above quote says, I’ll adapt to the changes my back brace/ wheelchair bring and I won’t give up.

Image from Pinterest 

Athens bound!

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We are in Athens!!! I’m writing to all of you after hardly any sleep, so keep that in mind while you’re reading! At 1am my family and I were headed to Gatwick Airport to meet Ali (who’d had to come straight from work bless him). Ever since I was little I’ve loved the trip to the airport, watching the lights on the motorway, the darkness, everything.

I found Ali in the airport with his Mum and her partner Andy, who had dozed off waiting for us. And so I was dropped off in my wheelchair and after goodbyes I just had to sit and wait until bag drop. Excited didn’t even cover it I was going on HOLIDAY! Plus it’s the first time I have been abroad with Ali alone, something I’ve wanted to do for years. London being London meant the special assistance lane at security was closed. So I had to wait while people worked out the best way to check my wheelchair and push me through (they didn’t have enough staff). People were generally nice, although the woman searching my chair was chatting to me a lot, her daughter rides and what had happened to me was ‘one of her worst nightmares’ but as she said it’s just something that can happen to riders. She was surprisingly cheery for 4am, but then again so was I.

Then it was on to the shopping, I already had ideas of what I wanted to buy in Duty free and it was made even more fun by Ali now running with me through the airport. We zoomed around World of Duty Free, Ali teasing by going straight past what I wanted to look at before pulling me back. I must have looked slightly mad laughing so hard. We soon found the MAC counter…I might have treated myself.

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Well, they were discounted…how could I resist my first MAC make up

Everything then went really quickly, then we were on the plane ready to GO! It was only 6am though…so I dozed quite a few times and the flight was ok although Ali and I were both ready for a nap. Athens Airport was completely different to Gatwick.  I was met off of the plane and taken straight through, our bag was the 5th on the belt and we were personally put into a taxi by a lovely man.

The hotel is cute and right on the shopping street (uh oh) and tomorrow we’ll be taking a slow walk around to get used to the place and find the British Council before my first class in the evening…eek! Right now though I need to go and get some food before crashing and finally getting a full nights sleep before class tomorrow!

One of the best days of my life.

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You know those days that are totally kick arse and at the end of it you kind of still can’t believe it. Yeah that happened today. I’d mentioned before how I had been asked to speak at the Diversity conference and to be fair I was so nervous. Last night and this morning I was so worried, what if no one turned up? What if loads of people did but they disagreed with my points? Do I really know what I’m talking about?

Turns out I shouldn’t have worried. After speaking to our Chancellor, Bonnie Greer MBE, I felt at ease. I’d watched one of her speeches before and she was absolutely incredible, I was able to watch her again before my own speech and I was just so inspired by it all.

As for my speech? It was well recieved, I got the most questions of the morning and the best thing was that I was really helping people. I had so many people come up to me after, asking my advice and if I would be involved in certain things. It was overwhelming but everything I wanted to be. I’m hoping to write a blog based on the ideas that I spoke about today.

I was also ableto be a part of a Mental Health workshop and we could really discuss how it impacted our lives, how we could help the university etc. Overall a really positive day in terms of Mental Health and I will also hopefully be participating with a member of staff on a research project on students with MH issues. How exciting!

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My wonderful tutor Sara giving her support. 

After catching up with my friend Joe, who was so supportive today and I can’t thank him enough. My next part of the day was to head to the Kingston Writing School and a talk that I had helped organise. If you haven’t read any of R.S Pateman’s novels go now! The Second Life of Amy Archer is out now and The Prophecy of Bees will be out later this month.

Rob gave a brilliant talk, honest, funny and humble. I was also pleased to find someone else who writes like me! Scattered and all over the place, not careful planning if I can help it. Hopefully I’ll be attending a book launch for The Prophecy of Bees soon which should be a lot of fun!

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Rob Pateman (R.S Pateman) and I 

Other than that general smiles, good company and some exciting news about my academic future (possibly) overall a great day and still proving you can LIVE  with depression 🙂



Hello second year!

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Well hello Second Year! There’s nothing like a busy and hectic day to get you back in the mood for uni and I’m still smiling. Despite starting at 11am second year seems busy already, not lazy first week lectures but back into the full swing of things. I feel so happy and confident about uni this year, a total change to how I felt last year, stressed, worried and tired.

I started with my Victorian to Modernist module, the reading list would make any one cower away in horror but it’s actually ok. After writing up my list of when things need to be read by I should manage it, if not I’ll have a little help from Sparknotes to help me catch up. Then it was on to my mental health meeting, again positive, in to another lecture and then to my Victorians seminar which was actually my favourite part of the day.

The best part though? I have friends on my course that love and care about me. I’ve got new relationships with girls on my course and everyone seems to be getting along. I’m actually excited about uni, not just for the academics (which I’m always excited about) but because I want to see the people on my course, catch up and see how they are. In short I feel accepted, which hasn’t happened that often when it comes to education. For once I’m not the freaky one, the loser or the one who’s not quite in the group. We get excited about going out, we’re all going on the class field trip in a few weeks,  I couldn’t ask for more.

In short I’m finally happy. That’s not to say I wasn’t with the friends I made last year but something feels a little bit more complete. I’m on a course I love, I have friends both on and off that course, I live somewhere I actually feel comfortable in, everything’s just that little bit better.

I’m looking forward to every part of second year, the highs, tackling my lows and just everything it will bring!