Eleanor’s Blog – 14 February

Hello, and happy Valentine’s Day you lovely people.

Last week, as I’m sure you know as I mentioned it about 100 times, was my 19th birthday, only one year left of being a teenager! The day itself was a quiet one, going out for a curry with my mum and step-dad. We went to Sanam, on the curry mile, a really nice restaurant although admittedly not the cheapest out there. Good job I wasn’t paying! My presents included a book of pictures of famous paintings…but with cats substituted instead. The Mona Lisa with a furry face is definitely a sight to be beheld.

The next day was back to lectures, (my birthday miraculously coinciding with an empty day on my timetable) and it was our introduction to the dissection room in our anatomy module.  This is the place in the Stopford Building, the home of medicine at Manchester, where we can see real examples of the anatomy we’ve been studying. In other words, we get to look inside a person who’s died to learn about the relevant parts, like the throat, to help us in our course- Speech and Language Therapy. The bodies, or cadavers, are all people who in their life, specifically asked for their body to be donated to the university to aid in learning. It was one of the weirdest experiences of my life, I wasn’t scared or apprehensive but it was very odd. Unfortunately (or for some people, they’d probably see it as a good thing) the dissection room isn’t accessible for anyone who’s course doesn’t require it, so most people don’t get to go there for themselves. Photography understandably isn’t allowed in there, and we had to sign an agreement to say we’d be respectful, and not take any of the material away with us, although why anyone would want to, I have no idea!

The day after, Friday, was a busy one again, it being my first day starting on my clinical placement- a chance to go out and experience Speech and Language Therapy in the real world. There’s 6 of us from the course based at the same placement in Oldham doing what’s called ‘accessible information’, taking documents or forms or any kind of information that may be important and trying to make an easier to read version for adults with learning difficulties to be able to use. Oldham is just a bus journey away from the centre of Manchester and is a place I’ve never really been before. Thankfully some of the group sorted out which bus to catch and where from or I’d have been lost! The therapist and communication development worker that we’re on placement with are both really nice. A few weeks ago, the thought of this placement seemed really scary and soon, but I found that it was really helpful and I wasn’t as useless as I thought I’d be! The bus back took a while, meaning I wasn’t back at the flat until half 6 in the evening, giving me just enough time to get ready for going out that night. I invited a few people round to the flat with it being my birthday, but I wasn’t looking forward to it as most people seemed to be going home to see their families that weekend so wouldn’t be around! It wasn’t as much of a failure as I’d envisaged though and we had a funny night. My friend’s bought me a cake too, but it was eaten before I had chance to take a picture! We ended the night at Factory251, a club on Princess Street, not far from the Uni campus. With cheap entry and drinks, and 3 floors of music it’s a pretty good night out! My friend from home stayed over at my flat too, as she’d come out to celebrate my birthday.

The next day we got up early (well, half past 10, it’s pretty early for a Saturday) and wandered down to the Manchester Opera House along with our friend who’s studying at Manchester Metropolitan. We were hoping to catch a glimpse of the actor Zach Braff (JD out of Scrubs!) but he was running late so we didn’t get a chance to speak to him before he went inside. Normally I’m not the kind to be a fan-girl and hang around trying to meet celebrities, but for JD I thought I’d make an exception. A play that he directed and was starring in was showing at the opera house, and we’d been planning to go but forgot to buy tickets. Oh well! After standing outside in the cold for a bit, Starbucks was in order before catching the train back to Derbyshire with my friend. I spent the rest of the weekend visiting my grandma and eating homemade biscuits before coming back up to Manchester for another exciting week!

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