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Changing the world for deaf people

Alice’s BSL Level 6 Journey: Number 2

by | Nov 8, 2016 | BSL Students | 0 comments

Welcome back to my level 6 journey. It’s been a while since my last blog around this topic, so I must begin this one by saying a huge “thank you” so those who called me and emailed me to reassure me that how I’m feeling is normal, or that they read my blog and remembered feeling that way themselves when they were learning.

I was really touched to read your lovely messages and to hear your lovely voices on the phone, so thank you! (the best bit of advice someone gave me was “if you don’t cry at least once, you’ve not done it right!”)

But now the time has come for my next lesson, and here’s how it went…


Time to do my filming. In my last blog, I mentioned that my homework included filming a five-minute clip signing about myself. Yes, I know I have left it to the last minute – but that’s all part of the fun (at least that’s what I tell myself).

One of the biggest challenges was finding things to say about myself; it turns out it’s difficult to think of ‘interesting’ things about yourself! I didn’t want to do the usual spiel of who I am, where I live, and who my family are. Instead I decided to talk in-depth about my degree (theatre arts, education, and deaf studies) and the things I had learnt from that.

The filming of the clip took six attempts, as the first five were disastrous. In my first attempt, I got a sign so completely wrong all I could do was bury my face in my hands. For your amusement, here is a photo of the moment I realised I had gotten it very, very wrong:

Attempt two was going well until my boyfriend yelled from upstairs “how’s it going?” to which I replied “fine, until you started talking to me”. Bless him.

Attempts three, four, and five were ruined by the camera switching itself off.

Attempt six was the final version. It wasn’t perfect, but it was half 10 in the evening by this point so it was good enough for me.


I learnt a few things from this experience. Firstly, that five minutes goes surprisingly fast when you’re trying to sign something correctly. Secondly, that I hate watching myself sign as much as I knew I would. To be honest, I didn’t even watch the whole clip, just the start and end to make sure I was taking the right clip to class – the thought of watching myself made me want to cringe (that’s a demon I’ll fight later down the line!).


We’ve been in the lesson for an hour and a half, and I’ve already made some major life changes.

I’m still planning on becoming an interpreter, but I’ve decided to alter the timescale of how this happens.

My original plan was to do level six, then my level six interpreter training straight after. But it turns out that this just isn’t the right plan for me. I need to take a gap after finishing level six before I go on to further training.

I love level six because it is a huge challenge, but this is how I know that I am not ready for interpreter training. I’m not the kind of person who will settle for scraping a pass. I’ve always loved school and always worked as hard as I can to do well, because I enjoy learning. So, I am absolutely not willing to go straight into interpreter training if I don’t feel confident enough, or experienced enough, just to struggle and scrape my way through for the sake of gaining the qualification.

It’s been very hard to make these decisions. It’s hard because I had a clear plan of how my journey to qualification was going to go, and to know that this isn’t what’s going to happen is difficult for me to accept. I won’t lie, it’s made me emotional. But only because I want it so badly.

Now this all sounds very doom-and-gloom, but I am trying my best to have a positive attitude about these decisions, and to get rid of the little voice we all have that says “you’re not good enough”. It may be the case that for now, I’m not good enough. And that’s okay. I’ve accepted that, because if I take the time to work in the community with deaf people and interpreters, to gain the experience and the confidence that I need, then that little voice will disappear.

I’m aware that this has all gotten a little deep, and I apologise for that. I will add that an excellent part of the day was looking around the room of students and seeing equally baffled faces. Very reassuring, indeed.

I will leave you with this image which perfectly embodies how I felt on the train home.





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