I’m going to start with a sad crushing reality. The thing which makes you different is the thing that makes you the same as every other student. I honestly believe that understanding this will get you passed any obstacles and enable you to immerse yourself in study and reap the rewards available.

Just to clarify, you may tell yourself that;

* so and so is only able to read a million books every weekend because he doesn’t have to work two night shifts like you do,

* x can produce perfectly constructed sentences with ease because English is her first language, unlike me,

* I need extra support because I have a disability so of course I will never get the results they do.

I could go on and on and this may seem harsh already.

Of course always provide yourself compassion and self-care, understanding and recognition.  Yes praise every obstacle you overcome to acheive what you need or want to achieve. But to carry this out at the expense of other classmates will isolate you and start a process of segregation. You may internalise more and more reasons for why you are different and that can become a dangerous self-fulfilling prohecy.

Instead understand first and foremost that even the most seemingly gifted students who claim to churn out a first-class assignment in a week, will have worked their socks off to get that far. Whether that’s because they spent their school life reading at every available hour instead of being on a playstation or they are a mature student who worked their way up the journalism ranks before embarking on creative writing or maybe they are winging it on this course and spend every night in the LRC working with Red Bull on an intravenous drip.

The big secret of anyone doing well who makes it look easy – they work super hard and make difficult decisions.

Don’t continue to kid yourself that x has it super easy because they don’t have to work as they have rich parents so they have plenty of time to study. Understand that x is possibly desperate for some kind of parental recognition and instead of enjoying student life, feels they have to perform well to meet difficult expectations. Or x is well aware of their priviledged circumstances and doesn’t want to waste their opportunity that others can only dream of.

Everyone has something and in my experience creative writing students all have more than just ‘something’ am I right? Students drawn to write usually have a story to tell and more often than not, one they need to hide.

Consequently I implore you to be your own person. Understand like one of my friends does, that a second language is a gift. It doesn’t hold you back if you feel behind your classmates it makes them envious of you. Recognise how having a disability inspires other more able students to do better and feel proud of the things which make you different rather than limited.

This can be easier said than done, hence difficult decisions. A person that is tone deaf may eventually realise her dream of being a word class opera singer is limited. They may spend all their waking life working harder and harder but never quite getting there. If that person is happy and able to keep going, of course carry on with the theme tune from high school musical humming in the background.

However, consider that if you aren’t enjoying yourself or maybe you continue to make too many sacrifices then you may have to have a re-think. You don’t want to look back one day and think, if only I’d spent all that time working on my photography skills instead.

Just keep a conscious attitude that you want to do this for you and if you want to do well work hard and if you want to do really well work harder and if you have to overcome obstacles to do well you may have to make sacrifices and work even harder. Simples – she says 😉!

My first tip: I don’t reward myself with anything when I reach a certain word count or read so many pages. I reward myself time to read or time to write once I’ve finished a chore or work activity etc. Reading and writing is my priviledge, I feel so lucky when i get a chance to do it. My attitude is always hungry to read and write, even if it’s pulling over on a country lane to jot down notes on my way to work. I’m always excited and for me personally if I wasn’t that would be my cue to stop.

‘Anonymous is really just a name for someone who had something to say, but was not famous enough for anyone to remember their real name.’ – Anon


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