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Going to university – Florence’s Story

Got your A-level results? Got into university? Starting to feel nervous about going?

See Florence’s story about going to university and what help you can get to have the best time!

Florence’s experience at school

Florence is profoundly deaf. She uses hearing aids and a cochlear implant. At school, Florence had good and bad days.

“In sixth form you’re expected to go home and do lots of work in the evening but I was just too tired to do that from lip-reading all day.”

In lessons, Florence got tired as well. She had to focus more when listening in class and lip-reading. Because Florence was finding some of school hard, she worried she wouldn’t be able to go to university.

Getting support

In the summer whilst at sixth form, Florence went to a course at University College London. The course is for deaf sixth form students to help them find out about the support that is available at university.

Florence met other deaf young people who were also going to university.

One girl Florence met was at university studying medicine. She had help like note-takers and Radio Aids. This made Florence feel better about university. She learnt that she could get the same support.

“It made me feel like I could go to university as a deaf young person.”

Results day!

Florence was so happy with her results. On her results day, she found out she got her first choice at university.

“I got three As in History, Psychology, and Philosophy and Ethics.” Congratulations to Florence!

Florence living at university

“The first few weeks were quite strange – being away from home.”

Florence worried about living away from home. Florence lives with other students at the university, with people who are hearing.

Florence said: “I also worried about not hearing fire alarms and things in my flat.”

“But the university gave me a fire alerter that vibrates when it hears the fire alarm. I also have a special doorbell it flashes and it’s really loud.”

“On the first few days people would ring our flat doorbell to say hi and everyone would find the loud doorbell quite funny so then I could explain it. It was a good talking point.”

Making friends

In group conversations, Florence said people remember that she is deaf. They look at her when talking so she can be part of the conversation.

Florence felt like she could then join in. “Me and my friends go to the weekly pub quiz.”

The pub found out Florence couldn’t always hear the questions. So, they put up something in the pub which shows the questions on the screen.

Florence also goes to the university choir. Sometimes they sing songs in Latin which was hard.

Florence said: “I didn’t know what Latin sounded like or how you pronounce it so my friend and I are setting up our own choir here.”

“The choir will be for anyone; it doesn’t matter if you can sing or not.”

Lectures

What is a lecture?

A lecture is like a big lesson with lots of people you all sit in benches and a teacher talks about the subject you have chosen at university at the front. You learn more about your subject from the teacher. The teacher at university is called a lecturer.

When Florence was going to her first lectures, it was hard. The teachers didn’t know about her deafness. But she went and got help.

“I have to go and give my lecturers my radio aid and ask them to repeat questions from the students and not face the board.” It was scary to ask them but they were good about helping her.

Seminars

What is a seminar?

A seminar is a smaller class. The teacher leads the class to talk about a subject. You talk about this subject with other people in the class.

Florence got help for seminars as there was lots of people talking. Florence got a key worker, a notetaker and radio aid.

Florence also has a Teacher of the Deaf (ToD) who visits every couple of weeks.

Florence said: “Some of the language is quite hard to understand so I write down all the words that I didn’t understand and go through them with my ToD.”

Communication Support

See our page about the communication support you can have!

Florence’s tips!

“My advice to other deaf young people would be: don’t think you can’t do stuff because you’re deaf.”

“I didn’t know if I could do it either; just do it.”

“If you want support then you have to ask, be upfront with what you need”

Didn’t get the results you wanted?

Didn’t get the results you wanted? Not sure what to do?

Check out BBC Advice who have some helpful tips!

Got questions?

If you have got questions about university or not sure where to start, contact our helpline!

Email helpline@ndcs.org.uk or chatting online at www.ndcs.org.uk/livechat.

Chat to a Childline counsellor

Visit Childline’s Deafzone to talk to a counsellor online or using a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter.

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National Deaf Children's Society

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Helpline: 0808 800 8880

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