My name is Ross Hovey and I graduated in 2001 with a BA (Hons) in Business Studies at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, around 20 miles from home. A combination of being very ill during sixth form and my own preference for personal care provided by family meant studying locally was the easiest option. I attend a college for 2 years which then allowed me to upgrade my HND to a degree – so in reality I only went to University for 18months.

“I realised that the benefit of studying locally and having no debt was probably not as much fun as living in a big city and enjoying proper Uni Life.”

Having visited many friends who were a few years younger during the mid-2000’s I realised that the benefit of studying locally and having no debt was probably not as much fun as living in a big city and enjoying proper Uni Life. If I could turn back time, I would have started using PA’s younger and been confident to flee the nest. I also would have had a wider circle of friends.

I don’t remember having a Disabled Student Allowance (DSA) but prior to driving I got a free taxi to Uni and back daily and my friend who I went to Uni with was paid to help set me up in lectures, carry my bags and I think to take me for a pee when needed. Whilst it worked, looking back it has probably had a negative long-term impact on that friend who recently commented on their Uni choice and experiences. The taxi journey was long and had to be at fixed times so if lectures were cancelled, I couldn’t get home. Morning traffic meant 9 am lectures were always a rush. When I learnt to drive and drove myself the last 6 months of Uni were more fun, and I was given a parking space. I remember one day spotting my Economics lecturer broken down on my journey – I stopped and picked him up. It certainly helped me in a poor subject.

“I remember one day spotting my Economics lecturer broken down on my journey – I stopped and picked him up. It certainly helped me in a poor subject.”

I certainly got good results but missed out on socials and I think my early career and movement to independent living was delayed because I lived and was cared for by family. Whilst I got on a graduate scheme and approach 20 years with the same organisation my early placements were not as explosive as fellow cohort because I had built a local life and didn’t have a team of PA’s to give me options.

In my career, I have seen the great support for disabled students now available. Good carers would really transform the opportunities and experience more.

When Ross is not furthering his career, he can be seen watching his beloved Liverpool.

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