Today I handed in my final assignment, completing the disability studies course I started in October. It was something I’d considered doing for a while, but the course was always only run in Dublin, so this was the first time it was taught locally. It is a higher certificate run through NUI Maynooth, taught by a tutur who I have known for a while and have great respect for. It was a very enjoyable course, completely different to anything I’ve studied before.
You might think an 8 month course would be easy, but there was a lot of work involved in this one. We did a group project in which we did an access review of a building, wrote a theory essay, wrote a 4000 word research essay and submitted a learning journal. Just encase anyone wonders why I haven’t been blogging, you could say after working on assignments, I’m never really in the mood to write anything else. We had the freedom to choose our own essay topics, so I chose autism for my theory essay, and I looked at the experiences of professional blind musicians in Ireland for my research. I might write about this in more detail if anyone’s actually interested. I put as much work into these essays as I would have in my college course, so its just a matter of waiting for results now.
The course was taught in such a relaxed informal style, that I felt that I was learning so much without even realising it. The eleven other students were great fun, and I enjoyed talking to them. We all learned from each other, and there was no higherarchy between students and lecturer, unlike a lot of other courses, especially in university.
I’m really glad I’ve had the opportunity to do this course, and to learn from so many interesting people. While the course content was useful, it was other people sharing their experiences that taught me the most. I learned so much on a personal level, and I wasn’t expecting that to happen at all when I signed up for this. I’ve also been asked to assist a trainer to deliver philosophy of independent living training to colleagues during the summer when the school awareness program finishes. This sounds terrifying, because I’ve only ever taught children, but I’m ready for a change. If I hadn’t done this course, I wouldn’t even consider doing this.
I know that whatever I do in the future, whether it involves working with people with disabilities or not, things that I learned on the course will always stay with me.