When I had to leave my home, I was really excited about SASH because I felt it had a lot of potential. It meant that I could only blame myself if I didn’t succeed. If I was at home and I failed, I could always blame it on the situation I was in. I wasn’t worried at all about not knowing the people I would be living with. I felt like I would be able to go a lot further with my life, that I wouldn’t be in shackles. I would be able to make my own choices. I felt free.
My host and my support worker did a great job. They helped me with finances, budgeting. They gave me advice and a lot of general knowledge, basic things like for example I’d never used a phone before. The thing that I found hard was having to do my own cooking within two of three weeks. I hadn’t done any cooking at home. I was a bit nervous at first, but then I was like ‘it’s not that big of a deal’. I just needed to explore, work out what stuff I liked. I’m quite good at cooking now.
Carrying on my studies was really important to me. I worked really hard, I wanted to prove a point. In the end it turned out really well, I got 2 As and a C. I was really proud. I didn’t tell my parents. I haven’t spoken to them in the last three years.
I was in SASH for eight months. I was very nervous when I came to move on, but also I was looking forward to it and getting quite excited. I had just turned 18.
The first night I spent in my own home I really liked it. I remember waking up and thinking ‘this is really good’. The people I was sharing with were students as well and were good characters.
I got a place at the University of York. I had always wanted to go to university, to be around like-minded people.
I’m studying environmental science. If I had stayed at home, I don’t think I would have gone to university. My options would have been a lot more limited. Everything I did, my parents chose for me. My way of thinking would have been a lot different as well, it would have been very narrow.
I’ve definitely noticed a difference between me and those who have left home for the first time. They’re really messy and they don’t seem to care! They don’t really cook, they just order stuff in. When you talk about cooking, they can do like soup from a packet, stuff like that. I tend to cook from a book, for example the other day I cooked a potato pizza from an Italian cookbook – you use mashed potato for the base instead of dough.
The first time I visited the university, I remember thinking ‘this is too good for me’.
It only sank in when I went in to collect my ID card. They took the photo and gave me the card and it seemed really surreal. It was ‘wow, this is really happening, I’m a University of York student!’
If it wasn’t for SASH it would be a whole different story, I wouldn’t have found life as exciting. I wouldn’t have anything to look forward to. If I’d had to stay at my parents I would be working by now, because I don’t think there would be any scope for anything else.