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Bella's Story: How it feels to be estranged

Bella's Story: How it feels to be estranged

Chrystabel Mangwendeza, studying for a degree in Education, Childhood and Youth talks about how it feels to be estranged and how the University has helped her.

Everyone knows going to university is hard. From the application process, waiting nervously to hear if you’ve been accepted then actually taking the step, in most cases, of moving away from home so you can attend university. It doesn’t just stop there, it’s the adjusting to life away from your family, away from your support & away from everything you’ve ever known. It’s the part where you try and make friends, create bonds that remind you of home, where you learn to nurture relationships that’ll guide you through your course until you eventually graduate.

Lucky for some.

As an estranged student most of my university experiences are spent alone. Now not alone as in I have no one around me but alone as in I have no one that gets me.

Most people haven’t had to experience one of the biggest challenges of their life alone, without family or relatives.

Most people have a home they can run back to in the holidays or when they get home sick. Most people have real family and some of us don’t.

My first year of university was the worst experience of my life. I had no other option, I definitely wasn’t ready for university but I always felt like I had something to prove and that if I took another gap year I’d be looked upon and laughed at because I must have failed.

I didn’t know the support that was available to me because in all honesty I didn’t know there was support for people like me. I didn’t know that being an estranged student was even a thing! And then I met Kirsty.

This university couldn’t have picked a better person for this job.

The role that Kirsty has played in my life since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic has been literally God sent. Anyone that knows me knows that there were days where I was ready to surrender and give up on the whole degree thing, I was steps away from going back to exactly what I was trying to escape.

The continuous support I receive from Kirsty and her team is honestly the reason why I’m even still here today.

Through the university & Kirsty I have been able to gain support academically the way I need it, mentally, emotionally and financially. There’s no support a family and relatives could provide me that Kirsty & the university can’t and for that I will be forever grateful.


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