My plans for over the summer (Dale)

Dale circleI know I’m definitely not alone here in thinking: where has this year gone? It feels like I’ve been at MMU for about 2 weeks…not a whole academic year. Finally the sun is shining and having to spend ridiculous amounts of money on heating is a thing of the past.  As an advocate for the LGBT it feels appropriate in the lead up to the summer to remind everyone that summer is (as well as the much-anticipated festival season) also PRIDE SEASON.dale banner circle Pride is such an important event – not only for the LGBT+ community, but also for all the families, friends, and allies of this fabulous community – showing your support at Pride changes history, and changes people’s lives. It is not just a 3 day boozer around the village (which is pretty fun, I won’t lie) but it is about remembering that the fight is not over and our rights as LGBT+ are still so often up for debate and stigmatised. *Cough cough* Chechnya *cough cough* Trump *cough cough* Genderquake – whaaaaaat?! So, please do show up to your local Pride and wave a flag for this beautiful community.

Summer is also a time to start thinking about getting some work experience under your belt, or considering doing a few weeks interning. This is the absolute best time to start looking. It is nerve-wracking to email companies and beg them to take you on for a week or two, but it might just be the difference between getting that graduate job and not.

Summer is a long time so it is definitely worth at least having a browse around online at companies you may like to get some experience from. If you don’t want to work for free doing an unpaid internship definitely try and get a part-time job to try and escape that overdraft before the new term starts. You will thank yourself a million and one times over come September when your bank balance is finally out of the red.

It is also important to remember that you have a life back home too. Although meeting loads of new, amazing people at university is super fun, it is probable that your friends at home really miss you and want to spend some time with you before the summer ends. Do try to make every effort you can to see those close to you back home.

Dale go home

This is my first summer as a part-time MA student, which means I don’t really get a summer off to play in the sun. My part-time job still expects me at my desk every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. My tutors still expect the work to be complete for my August and September deadlines. My tenancy is up on my flat, so binge-watching Location, Location, Location to aid my house-hunt is inevitable. I wouldn’t exactly say I’ll be having a summer holiday – I’m far more likely to be taking my laptop to the park with an iced latte, endlessly scrolling through Rightmove – and prepping for the shooting of my short film, Don’t Blame Jack, it is a semi-autobiographical LGBT short-film, that I am making for my masters degree which highlights the effects of mental illness. It’s about overcoming a loss of self, the recovery process, and adjusting to new circumstances. It is a story about learning self-love and self-appreciation and acceptance.This project is of personal importance to me as it is based on my story.

In February 2015 I was diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder and, like so many others before me, struggled with coming to terms with what this label meant and how it would affect my daily life. I began to document my illness using art and found that using creativity as a form of therapy was key not only for my recovery, but to enable me to maintain my mental stability. I created A FILM ABOUT LOVE from my recovery journals. The film challenges stereotypical representations of mental health issues seen in mainstream media, and provides unique insight into the experience of living with bipolar disorder and trying to navigate the changes it has inflicted on my life.

The stigma around mental health and its portrayal in mainstream media can be so damaging for sufferers and it is vital that there is a wider representation. During my recovery, I have learned that the best way to tackle these conditions is to talk about them.

So, if – unlike me – you are planning on taking a much needed summer rest and soaking up the (rare) Manchester sun rays then do have fun, stay hydrated, be safe, la la la, and see you in September when we get to do it all over again.

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