Hello! I’m James, but you already know that. You may know that I’m an IT student with a love of technology and computers. You may also know that I’m at college. What you may not know is that I’m on the second year of that course at the local college - which I attend 3 days a week. I spend half of one of the days off working as an IT tech at a local school. The other day is spent as work experience, creating a database for a local business. Oh, and in any spare time I get I am teaching myself a-level maths.
What you won’t not know is that I am not one of the most health young men you’ll meet. I have many illness and conditions including; Depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Insomnia and Acne. I suffered badly with asthma when I was younger, but as I have grown, I seem to suffer less and less with it. I have been depressed and chronically fatigued for about 5 1/2 years and medicated for depression for nearly 5.
At school I was a bright kid, who loved science and IT but hated English. Half way through year 9 I was put forward for a dyslexia test, which revealed the source of my struggle with the English language. I struggled to spell simple words and wrote about 4.6 words a minute. I was, however an avid reader and was (according to the test) reading 4 years above my age. Over the years my spelling has improved but I still struggle, often spelling the same word 5 different times on the same page. Most of the while I forget to add the “m” in James! I always say “You know you’re dyslexic if MS Word’s spell checker and Google can’t tell what you’re trying to spell!”
Due to my CFS and depression I missed lots of school and a fair amount of my GCSEs. I worked bloody hard when I was in and did lots of self study and got great grades in the sciences (including a* in biology), IT (of course!) but not so great in English (c in English lit, but surprisingly a b in English Language). I stayed on at school to do my a-levels - biology, chemistry, physics and IT with the end goal of becoming a forensic scientist (I know, I watched way to much CSI). When they said a-levels were a step up from GCSEs, they weren’t joking - it was more like a huge leap.
I struggled through the first year of a-levels, but had to drop physics as I didn’t have enough breakes in my timetable for my CFS. I enjoyed the 3 remaining subjects but prefered biology. IT at a-level was a huge waste of time - opening word and memorising excel macros for a 4 hour observed test. I studied hard (as my CFS would allow) and was fairly confident before taking the exams. I even felt confident come results day. But after getting the results, I felt awful. I had failed chemistry beyond belief, scraped through IT and just passed biology.
By this time my carer choice had changed to a programmer as over the summer I taught my self to program in python. I was distraught as I needed 3 a-levels to go to uni to do computer science (CS). There was 1 week until school stated again, so I rang up the local uni to see if 2 a-levels were enough, but they said that 3 were required as a minimum.
I returned to school a day before the term stared and found a course that wasn’t full so that by the end of the year I would have 2 full a-levels and one as-level. I chose psychology - I had many sessions of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy over the years, so I thought it was a good choice. I started school the next day and the first lesson was psychology. I sat in a class room with complete strangers who were all a year younger than me. The teacher presented an introduction to the course, where she told the class that in the exam students would be penalised if they made spelling errors.
It felt like a day in hell. I came home devastated and was sure I would never be able to go to uni. My Mum said that there is always another way and she encouraged me to look up other ways to do the course. I found another course at the uni which allowed people that didn’t quite achieve what was required to enter a CS course. This course was a year long intro to SC and upon completion, you would have the requirements to enter their CS course.But even this required a-levels. Upset, I went to bed early. When I awoke the next morning my Mum had found an IT course.
She had been searching for several hours and found BTEC level 3 IT Extended Diploma, the equivalent of 3 a-levels, at the local regional collage. I booked a meeting with the course tutor for the next day and skipped school to meet him. I explained to him that I didn’t want to do another pointless IT course. I told him I wanted programming, networking, hardware and most of all for it to be interesting. By the end of the meeting I had signed up for the course which started a week later.
The first year of the course was great, challenging and most of all fun and interesting. During school I missed out on more than just the education. I missed out on all the socialising and kept only 2 friends, 2 best friends through out my time at school. By the Easter holiday I had made 2 more.
I passed the first year with flying colours - Destination star in all 8 units. I started the second year about a week ago.