September. A month that for a lot of people aged 18, means the start of university life.
It was always in my mind to go to university and I never looked at my disability as being a hindrance as to why I shouldn’t go. There is a lot of help and guidance that you can get when applying. Once you’re there, mentor sessions, adaptations and extra time for coursework are all things that can benefit you to make sure you get the best grade possible. Of course, when it came to open days, I made sure that the campus was adequately accessible, that classrooms would be easy for me to get too and that my halls of residence were close enough to get to my lectures. However, the one I eventually chose, my classes were situated on a dockyard – yep a stoney, cobbled campus that was also a 30-40 minute walk from my halls. I know you’re probably wondering why on earth I chose this uni, at the time they sold me a course that sounded a lot better than it was with an abundance of opportunities.
Obviously, a 40 minute walk would probably be a bit longer if I was to self propel in my wheelchair and let’s be honest, British weather? Nah, I’m not getting soaked every other day for most of the year.
I actually visited Lifestyle & Mobility in the summer before I went to uni in 2013 to see what options I had. They showed me a variety of mobility scooters and at the time, I was 18 and felt very embarrassed to possibly own one. I bit my tongue and settled on a motorbike looking scooter with LED lights, wing-mirrors, swivelling leather seat and a cup holder – sexy eh?
Long story short, this became my car. I bombed down the road, probably doing about 13mph (not fast for some, but when you’re on a pavement it’s like driving a rocket!), meaning I could get to my campus in just under 15 minutes. I started giving my friends lifts and became the Starbucks runner for most of my 3rd year.
Now for the story time. During my first year, my best friend and I were up super late doing some coursework in my flat. Buzzing off of some red bull, I suggested going out for a quick ride on the scooter for some fresh air to hopefully make us sleep. We chucked on our coats and ventured out into the night… in our pyjamas.
Only about 5 minutes into the drive, I noticed a car in the wing mirror, that slowly started to get closer to us. Because it was late, I thought it could be hooligans up to no good, so sped up, back to the halls of residence. This car got closer and closer and in the end, wound down the window and said, “Police”. I froze and started to feel nervous. Had I done something wrong? Was it illegal to be out at 3am?!
“Is this your scooter?” They asked me. I started to panic but had no reason to. “Yes, it is mine” I replied.
“Have you stolen it?”, “No! It really is mine.” “Do you have any proof?” – oh yeah mate, let me pull out the receipt for it. How on earth am I supposed to prove that this scooter is mine? My friend replied – “It really is hers”:
I started to think of ways I could prove that it was mine, and the only excuse I had was “I have Brittle Bones, I can show you the scars if you want?” With a puzzled look on their face, they said “No, it’s okay. Just get back home now”. For that brief moment, I really thought they were going to take the scooter away. With adrenaline running through my veins I was thankful they believed me, otherwise how the hell would I get to uni in the morning!?
If you have any questions or topics you would like me to talk about then pop me an email at [email protected] or DM me on instagram @teegoatier.
Thank you for reading! x