My speech wasn't a barrier at university
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 College & University.
Get in touch with the Stammerers Through University Consultancy (STUC) for more support at uni.