Communication Start-Up

My name is Frank McNeilly. I am a grad student at Washington State University in the communication program. This blog summarizes my first year of communication experience from 2010 to 2011 with blogging about working with disabled students in the UK. I continue to post on this blog when sharing my communication experiences from my time as a volunteer.

Day 306, July 14th

I only have 8 days left of my project before I leave for a short vacation before going home. I’m still in awe as to how fast the time has past in the last 10 months. That amount of time has never moved so quickly for me. As I begin to pack my things, I want to take it all but I know that I have to leave some of it behind because I know that I won’t have room for everything. A week from now, I know I will be dancing with tears in my eyes because it will be the end of an extraordinary time here and while it will be hard to leave this place, I look forward to traveling a little bit more and going home.

Day 290, June 28th

Even though there is only three weeks until I get out of here, I feel like I want to leave sooner. I want to do my traveling in Austria and Prague and go home. I’ve had enough of living in a crappy accomodation with internet so bad I can’t hold a conversation for a long time on skype. I’m ready for a summer break. Now the trick is distracting myself for three weeks so I won’t think about how much I want to leave.

Day 272, June 10th

It’s the end of the first week back and it’s been a stressful one. On wednesday, nearly the whole school went to the zoo including my class. Things were crazy at the zoo. At lunch, two students had to be taken back to school leaving me with two students to look after for the remainder of the afternoon. After getting back from work I went straight to London to meet up with a friend from Brazil I met in Germany. By the time I got back it was 11:30. The next day I felt exhausted the entire day because I didn’t have that much of an opportunity to rest on wednesday. Wednesday and thursday alone felt like an entire week. Today was just as challenging because in the afternoon we were down one staff member in class and couldn’t get someone to fill in. Nevertheless, we managed. It’s the 10th of the month, which means that I’ve been here for 9 months. Time has been on fast motion here in England. I’m glad its friday, because now I can finally kick back.

Day 268, June 6th

I realized today that there are several good reasons about leaving this place in 6 weeks. First is the internet. I do have internet where I live, which I am thankful for. However, the signal is weak and each week the internet comes out of my salary. I’ll be happy to get back home to the nice and fast internet. The second reason is a bit more important. Today at the moment there isn’t any running water. This has happened once or twice before, but it was fixed fast. Today it hasn’t been working for several hours and I haven’t been able to shower yet; plus I haven’t been able to drink water from the tap so I’ve had to only drink beverages from the refridgerator. Running water is an important factor in living somewhere, more important than running electricity. Without water, there’s no cooking, no shower, and no toilet. Basically, it’s living in 1776. Although there are more reasons that home will be good for seeing family and friends again, the internet and running water reasons came up today. The Countdown is I have 6 more weeks left until my placement and 8 more until I fly home.

Day 262, May 31st

It’s been a hard last couple of weeks. I have been planning my trip, completing a huge paper for technical writing, and preparing a sendoff to the volunteers that are leaving. It’s honestly the most stressful time since I’ve gotten here. I’m glad that that all of that work is over with and enjoying the vacation I have now. I keep looking at my watch in terms of how much longer I will be here in Europe; 7 weeks left of work and 9 left until I go home. I can’t believe it, I’m already wishing that I had more time here in Europe.

Day 245, May 15th

Writing for last week, there are several things to share. It was the first full week back to work with 2 more left to go before another week off. Another month has passed, going to Paris a month ago felt like two weeks ago. One of the students in my class, the one with the worst epilepsy in my class, asked me about the Titanic. I was surprised that he was asking me about it and he also knew a little bit about the tragedy. This place is always full of surprises and I’m learning something new each week. This week was also spent planning and booking my trip for my week off. I will see Germany and Italy. In Germany, I will get to visit a friend that I haven’t seen in many years who I’m looking forward to seeing. I haven’t got long in this place, and time is only growing shorter.

Day 235, May 5th

Today I’m writing about a different experience to my time here in the UK. Earlier during my placement I was missing small things from home; like video games, films, and other things I was used to at home that I didn’t have when I came to the UK. After being here for awhile I adapted. I got a N64 emulator on my PC, and l learned how to watch films and television shows from home. Since I have those things here, I feel like I don’t miss home as much as I did before. Family and friends are the only things I miss about home. Since I don’t miss home as much, the travel bug has hit me and I want to see as much as I can see while I’m in this part of the world.

Day 231, May 1st

It’s the beginning of the month, and the sun is shining. I just came back from a long traveling trip on Thursday then popped down to London on friday to join in with the festivities of the royal wedding. Since I’ve been on vacation for nearly three weeks, time has passed very quickly. The end is in sight, only two and a half more months to go. But now, I’m feeling that I want to travel more and I want to see more of Europe. That’s right, I now have the travel bug. I wish I could have gotten it closer to the beginning of my placement. So, instead of going home immediately after my work placement is finished; my plan is to get a eurorail pass for a week or two and see the parts of Europe I haven’t seen yet that I want to see. I now have the feeling that once I leave all this behind and go back home to America, I will miss this place dearly. Time is money, especially here. So I’m going to spend it very wisely.

Day 210, April 10th

There are a few things to share from this past week. First of all I worked one on one with a student in my class that I had never worked with before. I was a liitle bit nervous at first, but after I started working with the student, I realized it was going to be fine and working with the student was no problem. England has a reputation for being cold and rainy. This past week, the weather has been the complete opposite. For four days in a row, the weather has been 80s degrees and sunny. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I even got sunburned, which I thought I would never do in England. Today just happens to be the 7 month milestone since I arrived here in England. There’s only 3 months to go, and I feel like it’s going fast. Now that I realize that time is getting shorter, I’m appreciating my time here more.

Day 199, March 29th

The tactics that are used here to encourage the students to behave well are interesting to me. The particular one I’m thinking of is in my class. Recently, one of the students in my class would lock herself in the toilet to avoid lessons. The tactics for discouraging that behavior involved a complete change of routine in order to avoid having more incidents like before. First, the student enters the classroom from outside so she doesn’t pass the toilet on her way to class. Second, we made a rule for her that she can only use the toilet during break. But this only applies to her, not the staff or the other students. So during class whenever someone else need to uses the toilet, we say they’re going on a job. Working with these kinds of students is defintely teaching me that sometimes you have to really take action when trying to discourage certain behaviors.