Student Finance have done the almightiest of fuck - ups. It turns out, they are saying I have a received a £2000 ish overpayment in the form of grant money. And to get it back? They are withdrawing my funding for the rest of the academic year.
This has left me knee deep in shit basically. There isn't anything I can do about it either, from my research - every year, we sign a declaration confirming that if they overpay us we will return it. Happy Days eh?
It's also been a week since the OSCE last Thursday. I celebrated the relief of it being all over and proceeded to be very very unsure about what to do with myself. I was so used to being in bed by 9pm and up a 6.30am that I couldn't snap out of the routine. It's not a bad routine, but it's certainly a little bit boring when you're saying good night to your mates on a Friday night at 2045 because everything in your body is telling you need to be up in 10 hours ready to chant those freakin examinations through.
I went home for Mothers day too which was really nice. There was a time, quite a long time in first year where I flat out couldn't go home. My relationship with my dad has always been strained and I swore when I moved out, that would be it, i'd finally have nothing to do with him. Indeed, Mum then began divorcing him while I was in first year, but that led to a lot of outrage and things being even more tense at home.
During my second year, I was happy enough pottering around up here, drowning in Neuro semester and starting my job letting all the shit hit the fan at home. Now, in third year, things are finally beginning to settle at home. The light is visible at the end of the dark divorce tunnel and going home is simply a pleasure.
I love it and it breaks my heart to leave. It breaks my heart to see it's just my very little (she is physically very petite) mum, sat curled up on our very big sofa, in our too-big-living-room, in front of the man-thats-just-been-paid giant TV, all alone in the evenings. I know it doesn't bother her and she would rather be alone than with my Dad too but it still pains me. The proper, catches your throat, hold back the tears, feel like someones stuck their hand in your stomach and twisted pain you know?
She's got my little sister who's 11 and that's fine but she's getting to that age where she carries so much attitude and hormonal sass around with her that she's becoming real hard work too.
It was bitter sweet then, going home for 4 days. It's been a long time since I've been able to do that and I miss it terribly now. She works really, really hard, my mum. She was never allowed to go to secondary school, she was forced into a marriage she never wanted to be in, had in-laws that treated her in a way I can only liken to child cruelty, filled with rationed meals and disallowed from seeing her own parents. She was married at 19 and had my brother by 21. I shake with grief when I think about how I am 21 now. Having had my brother though, she knew she had to do something. I think despite the worst post-natal depression you could even think of, she was so overcome with love for her first child she wanted to provide him with a better life. She didn't want him to go through this. So bit by bit and in secret a first, she managed to start a course that would allow her to be a teaching assistant, and then they said, hey, you could do alright you know, you should train to be a teacher. So she did. Without a single GCSE to her name, she managed to do an Access to Teaching, she started a Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Birmingham. My Dad at this time, had been sat on his arse, living in the house my mums parents had bought them to help them now they had my brother to look after, on the dole, doing jack shit. She talks about sitting her finals and being pregnant with me and being more desperate to hold me in and just finish the course than anything else and I am so extremely proud of her.
She started earning, she moved us out, twice. She had gone from living on benefits to actually having some significant money very very quickly and poured it into her childrens education so we could go to grammar schools... and well, I suppose the rest is history. I cry as I type this because I wish, I so badly wish that I could have sent her a letter, or visited her when she had just had my brother, was suffering from horrific post-natal depression, was walking across a bridge, seriously and honestly contemplating jumping because she couldn't see a way out.
I'd tell her, "Mum! It's me. I'm your daughter!! And i'm training to be a doctor you know! It's a real dream come true but mum you make it. It gets so much better because you are such a hard worker and you make all of our dreams come true and give us opportunities you wouldn't even be able to fathom right now. You're going to be OK, everything is going to be OK. I know you can't see that right now and I know right now ending your life seems to be the only way out of this forced marriage but you do eventually get rid of him. It takes a while mum, but that's OK because you still provide us with a stable family home and give us anything we could ever possibly want. So know, please know, everything is OK. We never say it to each other because we never learnt how to, but I'm gonna tell you now mum, I love you. I love you so much and through everything, you'll always be my priority. And when I'm 14 and you're struggling to cope with my outrage and my pain, know that I get through it and I eventually find a positive male role model that pulls me through it. Need I say, it's actually your brother-in-law! But anyway, I love you and you look great in the 90's so embrace it."
And that's what pisses me off about student finance. I'm like GOD, just give us a break. We've not even finished paying off the extortionate lawyer fees for the divorce only to be thrown into more financial hardship because of a mistake they have made. We work hard. We just can't seem to catch a break. And do you know what kills me the most? I've signed up to live in this huge flat next year which is extortionate and when I get this news I call my mum, and I say, "I'm really worried. I think you should really think about whether or not we can afford for me to live in that nice flat next year with how expensive it is. I can always find somewhere else. And i'm gonna pick up extra shifts to try and make it easier for you mum, i can always do more work..."
And do you know what? She tells me everything is going to be OK, to keep my money and put it aside in case, but that everything is going to be OK, that we have our health and yea it is a bit like one thing good happens and then something else bad starts but that's OK because we have our health.
I mean, if a woman like that doesn't inspire you, than what could? I don't need beyoncè to tell me I'm a strong independent woman - I've got my mom.
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