There’s been a bit of a gap…

I started photography at Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) in September. Studying photography with the OCA made such a difference to me that I wanted the opportunity to study full time and to spend time with other photography students; as Bournemouth is within reasonable travelling distance (about an hour) I decided to take a place when it was offered to me. 

However, I managed two weeks before I got ill (freshers flu I suppose) and then I had an allergy to ibuprofen which has led to a run of horrible symptoms and caused no end of problems as I am also allergic to paracetamol.

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Part of a series of images I took before I started AUB

Last night I realised I had been absent for four out of six weeks and I know that I am likely to need more time off as I need to try prescription painkillers that may or may not cause me problems. That will involve going to hospital to sit in accident and emergency while I take the tablets so I’m in the right place if I have a problem. Add to that a spiral of pain I have now got into and a run of problems caused by lack of ibuprofen, like issues with an ongoing achilles injury. Under any circumstances it makes it difficult to do two hours driving and a forty minute walk five days a week, but when I cannot take ibuprofen to deal with the symptoms it makes it impossible. Last time I went into the university I had to keep stopping on the walk back to the car which isn’t great when you’re walking back through a wood alone with a weird guy hanging around that you know you won’t be able to run from. I then had an hour of driving ahead of me on an ankle that was too weak to walk on. I don’t usually need to take painkillers very often, but I’m now acutely aware that if I get a headache I can’t do anything to ease it, if I get backache I’m stuck with it, if I get a cold (inevitable in the context of the university) there is nothing I can take to help with the symptoms.

I’ve come to the conclusion that while I am at university full time I can’t get myself back to my normal healthy self; I keep hoping and convincing myself I can, but then I come down with something else. I’ve been more ill in the past six weeks than I have in the past six years. I normally keep healthy by going to the gym four times a week; I’ve been twice in the past month. Despite having a long list of photographic work I want to do I’ve not managed to take more than a couple of rolls of film and I haven’t even got those developed yet. I have other artwork I want to make too, but I’m just not getting time. I thought I would be involved in music at the university, but I’ve hardly picked up my violin for a month and there is no way I can get my cello there and so that is not happening either. I’ve put so much effort into violin in the past few years I am really reluctant to give it all up, but as each 1 1/2hr workshop takes nearly five hours of my time I just don’t get enough hours in the day to fit in everything I thought I would. I have to be realistic that AUB just isn’t working for me at the moment.

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My work is on two of these

I can’t let this go on indefinitely and so I have decided that I will leave AUB and continue studying with the OCA. I have nearly finished EYV; I’ve completed all the assignments and I know how to approach the updates that I need to make. I need to make more of an effort to spend time with other students on OCA courses and I have to think about how to do that as I don’t feel that I’ve been a fully engaged part of the OCA community so far. If you’re reading this and you’re an OCA student on any course I would really appreciate your thoughts on this – how do you stay in contact with the community? Do you get to meet other students in the flesh? I think this is something I would really benefit from and so input and fresh ideas would be very much appreciated. 

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My new camera; a Canon AE-1 Program