Growing Up

Paul Harrison: Later Friendships

Paul was born in 1985 in Hillingdon, London. He lived with his family in Uxbridge and attended a special deaf school in St. Albans from the age of three. From age eleven Paul attended the same school's secondary department attached to a mainstream secondary school. At sixteen he continued on to a local college and from there on to university.

Here Paul recalls developing friendships during his University years.

Transcript

Looking back, being at school, I still hadn’t learnt how to fit in with hearing people. I’d only do the basics like “hello”, “how are you?”, “how was the exam”, “have you finished your coursework?”, but I hadn’t developed any friendships. With hindsight, I regret not making more effort to make friends. When I went to University, I was determined not to make the same mistakes again. My first year, I was on my own as the only signing person in the whole of the University, and I was aware that I had to make some effort. To begin with I didn’t have much confidence, but I met hearing students on my course, and their friends and we’d go to the pub, and I got used to frantically writing as we conversed. As time went by, we understood each other and they were on the same wavelength as me, they were hearing people and I really enjoyed their company. At school, I enjoyed being able to communicate in BSL, but at University they were friends who were on a similar wavelength as me. I would have liked something in the middle of the two!