Giles Newlyn-Bowmer talks about being thrown together with a group of strangers when starting university, and what helped put him at ease.
I think it is useful to keep in mind that starting university is both an exciting and nervous time for everyone. My stammer is more of a block, which means it can appear to others that I lose concentration on my face. Sometimes it may look like I am looking into the distance and people I am talking to sometimes look over their shoulder to see what I am looking at.
Halls of residence
Moving in to halls when I started university was quite daunting — suddenly being thrown in to accommodation with a group of people you have not chosen to live with. My stammer is pretty obvious when people start to talk to me, especially when they ask me my name. I decided the best way to deal with that was to tell people early on that I had a stammer — I found it put me at ease once they knew. I didn’t experience any difficulties in halls because of my stammer, it wasn’t like school.
I’m glad I asked for help when I needed it and was open about the stammer.
My university course did involve a number of presentations; a daunting prospect no doubt. But I found my lecturers to be pretty understanding and supportive when I spoke to them about my speech — I was not the first person with a stammer they had met. I knew I could always go to people in student services or the Students Union if I needed any further advice.
Overall I am glad I went to university and found it to be a supportive environment which helped me develop further confidence in my speech. I’m also glad I asked for help when I needed it and was open about the stammer and any impact it could have had on my experience. On the whole my speech wasn't a barrier to enjoying everything that university had to offer.
If you'd like more help on starting university, see our In education page.
Get in touch with the Stammerers Through University Campaign (STUC) for more support at uni.