I resat 2 AS Chemistry modules, and each module went up by 1 mark – and, happily, each module went up by an entire grade. Unfortunately, that didn’t help my overall grade, which stayed at a C. My A2 Chemistry module, Chains Rings& Spectroscopy, was graded a C, so I’ve already handed my resit form.
At this particular moment in time, I need another 213 marks to get an overall A, from a possible 210, so some marks need to come from somewhere…
I also took an AS Mathematics module, Core 1, and got 71%, which is a B. I’m happy with that, it’s only 9 marks dropped from an A, which I hope to pickup from the next two exams in May/June – Core 2 and Stats 1.
So, I’m on track to do Biomedical Sciences, and I can easily make the offer, but I want more, if you know what I mean…]]>
Anyways, this student doesn’t react initially, but a lovely female support worker then informs me that “You shouldn’t hit other students,” and I explained that wasn’t hitting, it was a light slap across his head, with no force involved. She repeated her information, and then the student started to join in – except he wasn’t quite so friendly, “F**k off out of this f**king room!”
Then, the lovely staff member advises me to leave. I ignore her, because I don’t make a habit of following staff direction when they basically repeat what a student has told me to do. I get about three more requests out of the pair of them, before the student threatens me, “F**k off out of this room, or I’ll f**king drag you out!” I move into the middle of the room, where there is space to defend myself, but before I have a chance to prepare for a block, the staff member has put herself in the way, and the student assaults her as she blocks him.
Then, I’m told that I must see the College Co-Ordinator before I leave – but as I’m pressed for time, I give her 60 seconds, and tell her to ring me for any information, or if there are any developments. Next thing I hear is my Mum ringing me at 1pm, to tell me that the service provider has rang my step-dad (at work) to tell him that there has been an incident and that there will be a meeting. I then rings the college co-ordinators office to find out who rang my parents, and why they didn’t inform me – both of them denied ringing them…
After a day out at GFE College, I went back to be informed that I’m now about to walk into a Stage 5 Disciplinary meeting (the highest it can go without involving an external agency), and immediately request time with my advocate. My advocate then refuses to read my statement of events, and tells me that she is there solely to check I understand what is being said. During this meeting I’m told that I’m suspended from the service provider, and that]]>
I don’t want to say too much about this, because it is simply my own personal observations of somebody who may or may not have any autistic traits – certainly I don’t think she is formally diagnosed with anything. This article is a follow up to Maybe, maybe not!
None of the observations from the previous post have changed, and the young lady concerned is still the same as always when in class. I’ve noticed her more often outside of class, mainly in the college canteen where she is still surrounded by her large group of friends, and, often, her boyfriend.
The difference comes in her behaviour towards me. When I first met her, she was alright with me, not exactly best-of-mates, but certainly no trace of dislike. Admittedly I can be a bit very patronising at times, and that can cause people to dislike me, but I wasn’t expecting her behaviours towards me. Within 2 weeks of meeting her, it would appear to anybody who saw us that she hated me. She would be very ‘bitchy’ to me in class, and my support worker overheard her saying quite a considerable number of horrible things about me to her friend.
Then, for no apparent reason, she simply ignored me, then would talk to me, ignore me, and go back to the bitching. Funny, but that cycle took about 28 days – give or take… After October half-term, it happened all over again, and I basically go used to the fact that she was never going to get on with me, even if her life depended on it! But then, something changed leading up to Xmas. She was civil to me – which was, for this situation, quite a breakthrough. Obviously, I tried to stay civil, and polite with her, although I was very confused by her sudden change; particularly as I was subsconsciously bracing myself for another lesson of bitchiness.
One of the girls I used to know at high school will tell you that I have an almost uncanny ability to predict, with a 1 day accuracy, when a girl’s period will fall; based solely on what one person has told me about her in two weeks. Amazingly, I was spot-on for some considerable time – althought it was never a topic we brought up often!
So, completely confused by what my mind was guessing, and what I was noticing, I quickly flicked through my notebook. One thing I sometimes do is to make notes at the top of any pages when a social situation is turning negative, to see if there is a trend (ie is it getting worse, and is it continual). I wrote the dates where I had made notes (only twice) in the back of the notes, and calculated the interval – 27 days. Then, I worked out the time between the last note and that day – 57 days. Without medical evidence, but using solely mathematics and gut feeling, I assumed I was calculating when she was ‘on’.
Since the Xmas holidays, she’s been even more bubbly than usual, and has started asking me for help. Sometimes complimenting or thanking me, although almost invariably in a sarcastic way. I could be seeing things in too much of a positive way, but I like to at least think that she has become much more civil and polite with me than she was.
The final observation was actually a physical one – and that was thing young lady taking a small white tablet from a foil packet which she kept in her bag. My medical knowledge guessed that it was likely to be a COCP, and based on what I’d seen of them, I would hazard a guess at Microgynon-30.
I can’t really say. I can timeline things, and figure that she started seeing her boyfriend in either October or November, that she became more civil/polite towards me in late December, and that I witnessed her taking a small white pill about 2 weeks ago. But that is all circumstantial.
Whatever has changed her, and stopped her being so bitchy to me, and horrible about me behind my back, is a great thing as far as I’m concerned. I can’t say what it is, but I can guess…]]>
Same plan as last year, I’m going to set three resolutions, and try to stick to them. Last year, I succeeded with one, came close to another, and did the opposite of the third!
It’s simply too much for me to be updating every week. I can barely even keep my own personal website up-to-date, and that one has my name, diary, cv and stuff on it. So I think 3 times a months is about right – so I’m aiming to get 36 posts before 31st December 2009.
Everybody around me says I’m “academically very able,” so it’s about time that I proved it. I have an offer to study a BSc (hons) in Biomedical Sciences at Northumbria University. The offer means that I need to get a ‘Merit’ (50%) in HEFC Human Biology and 80 UCAS points from this year’s examinations.
Considering I managed to rack up as much debt as I said I’d save, I think I’d better do something about that… Credit cards are only useful when you can pay them back quickly, or for genuine emergencies – there again, my laptop did die completely, so I did need a new computer! I should be able to pay off the outstanding]]>
Let’s start from the beginning. As usual to get to Sunderland from where I’m staying, I got the bus, and it passes through where I used to live. An old man got on board and was walking to the seat opposite me when the bus pulled away. Naturally he stumbled and fell forward towards me, he put his hands out to protect him, and I quickly braced myself to prepare to “control a fall”, with my hands aiming to help brace his arms. As he sat down on his seat, I was totally shocked to hear him say, “I wasn’t being funny or anything there!” Why has the world come to an old man assuming that a teenage lad would think he was trying it on?
Then, I gets to Sunderland, and went off to meet my mate. Bless her, she had bought me a lovely present at very short notice, despite me constantly telling her not to! Thanks! And she adored the necklace and earrings that I bought her. We only had 10 minutes as she had a couple of more presents to buy, and I was due out volunteering.
So, on I go to volunteer, where the service users are getting their Christmas Meal today, and there is also a pool, darts & dominoes competition. Most of the staff & volunteers are working in the kitchen and dining room, and the drop-in supervisor is running the competitions. Leaving me and a new volunteer to run the counter.
Normally the counter is an easy job, and I love it. We make tea, coffee, and chat with service users. Usually I get to read my books and magazines… Today was different, after an initially slow start. Once things got going, I was sitting down for about 1 minute at a time before more people wanted serving, and with the supervisor constantly being called downstairs or having other jobs to do, I ended up as acting-supervisor quite often! At one point, I was the only person in the drop-in, never once away from the boiler!
But that’s all part of the fun, and I don’t mind giving up my time to help out. In fact, I’ll probably be doing New Year’s Eve if they need any volunteers to come in and help out! Hopefully it’ll be a little quieter.
Then, I gets home, have some food, and relax in front of my laptop, as is normal for the holiday time. I’d sent an email to my friend on Sunday night, as she hadn’t been talking to me, and I was wondering why. To be quite honest, I wasn’t expecting her to reply at all. I’d sent her a lovely present by recorded delivery, and also a poem which makes my feelings for her rather clear – I pretty much managed to say “I love you” without using that exact phrase.
At around 11pm, I saw an email flash up from her, so immediately clicked on it. She told me that she no longer considers me to be a friend, I probably don’t know the reason we’re not talking (possibly because she hasn’t told me?), doesn’t feel the same way at all, and can’t cope with me anymore. Once again, this girl had me in tears, although this time with very good reason, because somehow I’d ruined things again.]]>
She is a friendly enough girl, in fact it’s fair to say that she gets on with pretty much everybody at college, has a large circle of friends, and is incredibly sociable. It’s crossed my mind more than once that she may well be in college purely to build a social network!
But in the lesson I have with her, she displays a lack of confidence, which usually comes across as attention-seeking. Though it may be possible that the low confidence and attention-seeking are entirely seperate issues. It’s hard to say why she’s not confident about the work, because in the time I’ve seen her focus and do it, she is more than capable of answering the questions correctly.
As well as that, she is usally asking for help, either by ‘disrupting’ other people or shouting the lecturer’s name out loud. Whilst it’s excellent that she recognises her need for support, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps there are other, more appropriate ways of going about obtaining it! This can often lead to other people trying to help, which may contribute towards the next problem…
The habit of continual talking. I know this is something I am quite an expert on, but not even I am that bad! It starts with the subject, but quickly moves off to everybody’s social life and anything else she feels like talking about. Quite often we have discussion about how long until break is, can it be extended, and can we finish early? This conversation will be ongoing whilst she texts any of her friends not in the lesson! It’s probably safe to assume that she is very easily distracted, and it can be a struggle for the lecturer to bring her back on task.
I’ve also heard that she is the same in other lessons, and has been throughout her school life.
Well, I’m not sure if she is on the spectrum. I’ve considered the diagnostic criteria for sub-strands of conditions, and I would say that it’s possible that she’d fit some of the criteria for attention-deficiency. She also fits some of the criteria for hyperactivity, but not many.
At present, it may be that she has an “atypical presentation” of a related condition. I know it’s possible to miss ASD completely with girls, and even more so as they mature and the symptoms can be masked as they master the social skills necessary to make up for the deficits.
I simply don’t know if it should be considered a possibility or not – maybe she should see an educational psychologist…?]]>
The trouble is, the reason for this new-found self-control isn’t a one that is “easily-transferred”. Once again, I find myself making the right choice because of one person in particular. And it’s that one person that I’ve blogged about at different times of the year, including my self-control at her birthday party.
This time, I’ve just been looking around Facebook, as you do, and my news feed showed some ‘Recently tagged photos’ of my friend; being a nosey sod that I undoubtebly am, I clicked the link and started to look at some of them. Initially, I made a couple of comments, one was in response to another one of her friends. But then, almost immediately, he replied with something that kinda incensed me a little bit.
I don’t know why it did. Actually, I do know why it did, and it stems from a combination of two things: my respect for my friend, and how much I care about her. Ok, so there is a third factor, but I can’t post it on here, I barely admit that factor to myself… So, I went straight for the keypad of my phone to type a response, and started a few words, but then froze. I actually managed to put in place the main strategy everybody around me has been trying to get me to do: STOP, think, act.
My thoughts then centered not on me, my comment, or what I was replying to, but immediately on my friend, and her feelings. I couldn’t post, I just couldn’t; it would most likely end up upsetting her. And that, I think, is something I keep trying to “protect her from”. That sounds bad – God only knows how much I complain about people doing that to me – except I don’t actually do much, or interfere. I’m just there, someone she can talk to, or someone who’ll ask her a couple of questions if I think she’s aiming straight down a path that will only lead to her being hurt.
I just wish I knew why my thoughts were the way they are. I really do, it’s so hard to figure out for most teenage lads, but it’s harder again for me. I’m confused, and right now, I don’t even think that Thought Process Analysis will do much other than end up in an infinite loop!
Well, now just to smile, be happy I didn’t do anything, and try and relax…]]>
Regular subscribers will remember the saga back in April & May of this year, when I was directly ordered to not meet my then 15-year-old friend in town for the purpose of helping her revise. Needless to say, the service provider hasn’t particularly changed its stance much, and is following its usual ethos of ‘check everything to the nth degree, and then go back and check it all again’ before even considering anything. It’s hardly any wonder why I believe progress to be so slow…
Back in August, my friend had her sweet 16th. Ok, maybe not-so-sweet, but you get the idea! With me helping her revise for her GCSE exams, she was in Year 11 at school. Which meant that she must have been born between 01/09/1991 and 31/08/1992. To further back this up, she’s been constantly talking about her sixth-form subjects!
So, 3 days after that day, I was in my manager’s office, asking him to risk assess me to meet my friend. My manager is a genuine bloke, and although he feels he cannot advocate for me with this issue, he does pass on my requests to the senior management team, and returns their replies promptly. And what response did I get? It certainly wasn’t an “off you go, stick within the city centre risk assesment” type response I was hoping for.
I got a “could you ask your friend to show us some photographic ID with her date of birth on it please” response. My immediate thought was to tell my manager where I might well plan to stick her photographic ID if I get it! However, I then had to simply ask how I was supposed to obtain said ID without meeting her to borrow it from her, bearing in mind that she still couldn’t be allowed with the halls. I was told to ask her to post it! Charming…
Well, I came up with a novel idea this month, having not managed to be able to get my friend to be able to photocopy something suitable and post it to me. She has kindly photographed her bus pass using her phone, and pictured messaged it to me. I’ve then saved the picture, copied it to my computer and put it on a USB pen drive. Then I went to see my manager, and I put it onto his computer, and he will take it to senior management.
I miss my friend, and she keeps telling me she still has a hand-made thank-you card from when I helped her revise. I was meant to get it when I saw her for her birthday party, but I never ended up going to that. Her birthday fell right in the middle of the first aid duty I was doing all weekend, and I ended up so busy and distracted that it was the next day when I eventually remembered to call her and wish a happy birthday!
Anyway, I’m now just waiting for senior management to get back to me with the latest set of hoops to jump through!]]>
Well, for a lot of this year, I didn’t post at all on many weeks, so I though I’d done really badly with this one! But, I’ve been and looked at the stats, and it seems that so far, this is my 53rd post! So, I’ll have at least averaged more than 1 per week.
In terms of software updating, I’m now more than on top of things. Thanks to the guys over at WordPress, I’m running WP2.7b3, with a theme that can handle all of the new features!
Well, I didn’t pass the test before May, like the original plan was. But, I did pass the theory test in March! Then, after 3 attempts, I passed the practical test (with 9 minors). Thank-you very much Tony P & Phil from BSM for the many hours of lessons (and also thanks to Kelly in the office for managing to fit some lessons into my instuctor’s diary before the 3rd test)! In October, I also did 6 hours of Pass Plus training, which should lower my insurance for whenever I decide to go out and buy a car…
Yeah, erm, maybe not! I haven’t so much as saved a grand as have a grand on my credit card. Oops. Things happened, like needing the best part of]]>
The hall where I live is surrounded quite nicely by a private school. Now, naturally, that means we’re surrounded each weekday by hoards of screaming kids, a few teachers, and so on. Yet in my two years, I’ve barely seen any interaction between “us and them” as it were. Why? I want to challenge that, and also write about 2 years worth of minor observations.
Firstly, let’s look at the teachers. I know who the headmistress is, she was the one who turned up when the school caught fire last year, and is generally to be found randomly appearing near the crossing with words such as “Katie, tuck your shirt in!” or else “Brian, your tie has turned invisible again.” I can take a guess at one or two others – the large gentleman who parks in the back lane in his 4×4-ish car; I think he may be a head of year, he’s strict when he needs to be, but he’s always so friendly to the students, plenty have I seen him make sure someone wasn’t standing alone in the dark awaiting a lift home. Then there’s the older man who gets off the LRTS at the bus interchange and walks through the civic centre, I can set my watch by his arrival off the 0741; I think he might be a form tutor for the younger year groups. Based on the service he gets off, I can conclude he lives North of the river, towards (or in) the neighbouring town.
I’ve seen one or two of the older ladies come off the buses after school finishes, so I suspect they may be in the humanities department, after all that is where most school trips come from. I think one of them has a daughter at the school, or else some other school-aged member of her family. And you can’t miss the PE department, in their school-branded tracksuits, they’re often found walking a group of young adults to wherever it is they do outdoor sports. I can even tell you that students congregate in a corner of a certain car park before walking down to compulsory games lessons.
But, throughout my time, one student has stood out above the others, and for no other reason than her looks. She is rather well known by most male students in my hall, although until recently nobody knew her name. The rest of this post is a story about how the internet is a risk to privacy, and how such small things can lead you to a mountain of information. This young lady was noticed often in the mornings, waiting for her games lesson, always talking. I think what made it hard for everyone to forget her was the stunning curly auburn hair; that, and something else about her that nobody can describe.
Over the next two years, the students at halls have seen her come from gossipy-style-schoolgirl to a mature sixth former. Of course, she didn’t help us to not notice her. We discovered she had a boyfriend quite easily, as he moved his lips with hers, his hand through her hair, as they fell backwards over the railings at the zebra crossing. It was watching a love story unfold before our very eyes; and to think, people will pay 6 quid to watch inferior actresses in the cinema. Not that we could miss it, most evenings we had to walk past this sweet expression.
Should anybody have managed to ignore it though, there was one time that was so obvious; the two caused quite a fuss within the building! We were sitting waiting for our pizza to arrive, and it so happened to be the school’s open evening, and then one of my mates shouted across, “Isn’t that the fit one from that school – is that her boyfriend!?” After hastily slamming the windows so as not to interrupt their time together, a discussion broke out deciding who the young gentleman in question was; much deliberation settled on him being the ‘school jock’, but we were undecided on the issue of rugby or football. As our pizza arrived we settled in the kitchen, where we ended up with front-row tickets to the latest. There, sitting on our wall was what can only be described in the most intimate you can get without falling foul of the law! Another window-slamming ensures they don’t hear the wolf-whistling and vulgar comments from within, although it does disturb them slightly.
By this point, I know she is 16; I’d defy any visually-typical person to tell me they walked down the street and missed that badge covering her blazer! Not to mention, she was now in the 6th form, so must have been in Year 12. I could also pretty much say she lives in town; she walks down past the day college site, which only leads to the posh area of town or a bus route that stays in town. I also know what school she goes to – obviously! I don’t know her name, but I figure it’s time people in my hall and that school should be talking; for one thing, I ought to apologise for slamming the windows and disturbing her. Of course, in two years, I’d guessed at her name, Amy, Megan, Jessica, Louise, Cheryl, and many others were guessed!
So, in come trusty Google and Facebook. Nothing could be found from Google at this point, except to note that she’d been in the photoshoot for the school’s website when she was younger. Facebook didn’t reveal too much, except two groups related to the school; one of these was a current appreciation group for a current teacher. I couldn’t find anything to help me in the members list, so I posted to the wall and discussion board, hoping for an answer. It didn’t take long for somebody to give me a name, which I searched on to discover she doesn’t have a Facebook profile. Not to worry, as Google came up with plenty…
Put her name into the engine and the first link will tell you that she is 5′ 7″ tall (guessed that), has blue eyes (knew that), auburn hair (knew that), is dress size 10 (guessed that), vital stats of 34B/25/36, shoe size 7, inside leg is 32″, and specialises in photographic modelling! Sorry, but, whoa, isn’t this far too much information to be having on the internet about a 16 year old girl? Next result gave me her old Bebo profile, complete with pictures, and information including that she is a season ticket holder for the local premiership club as well as a “netballer obsessive”. The third result of relevance was a deleted Wikipedia page (information still available on Google’s cache) informing me that her boyfriend played football for a local academy, and lives in a suburb of town. I now also know her boyfriend is the Head Boy at school.
Then, the very next day after discovering all that, I had a random young lady add me on Facebook from this high school. I accepted, placing her onto my limited profile, however going with my ethos of getting some interaction going between the two establishments. After some messages back and forth on the wall, I discovered she added me because “xxx told me to” – my, my, doesn’t popularity do wonders for you these days? Weird how things can happen like that – apparently she had seen my original posting on the appreciation group and wanted to know if she knew me. Not having Facebook herself, she asked one of her friends to check me out…
Finally, this whole story is almost pointless. Her boyfriend has recently passed his test and now drives her home from school each night. I assure you he is a very good driver, and incredibly cautious with reversing! Except to say, the young lady who added me on Facebook will say “hi” if she sees me around – no doubt she will what with me living next to her school!
But back to the original… Why do people seem to have so little time for simple pleasantries such as “Good morning”? It seems sad that, looking back, there has been two attacks on the back lane between “us and them” and neither of the establishments has either been able to help, or cared much about them.]]>