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Being NEET in Cambridge: Day Two

Written by Kyle Posted in General Advice, Being NEET, Learners' Stories

Hello, thank you for taking the time to come back and check out my second entry about being N.E.E.T in Cambridge. I left you all on a cliff-hanger when I had just received a call from a woman named Paula. So without further ado – let’s dive back in!

When I received the call, I wasn’t entirely happy. Scrap that, I hated being contacted by those whom I resented, purely on one detail: they represented education and training - both of which I felt disillusioned with after my stint in the educational system. In my opinion,education caters to the majority and statistics rather than nurturing the individual and encouraging personal growth.

So, you can imagine my apprehension at being contacted by Paula. I'd fallen into a rut: waking up, snatching some food, wasting away in front of a computer until I felt too tired to continue, and then falling asleep. I’d turn in during the early hours of the morning. Many hardcore gamers led similar lifestyles and I’d fallen in with them.

But even then, with the constant arguments within my family and the disappointment they felt in me, I had a seed of doubt, a sense of shame, that this wasn’t the way I wanted to spend my life.

When Paula first spoke to me on the phone, she was upbeat and eager to meet with me. I'd never had that before! It was always... eagerness to pass me on to the next person. Those who have dealt with me in the past know I wasn’t the easiest to work with but not the most difficult neither.

Paula arranged to meet me in my village to just have a drink and a chat with her to see what I wanted to do. I was, for lack of a better word, anxious to go outside again - outside my comfortable existence of leeching from my mother and playing video games.

But I couldn’t let a chance, however minute, that I may WANT to meet her and that she MAY be different from the others who failed to help me in the past.

So the day I was to meet Paula arrived. I made sure I went to bed early so that I could meet her on time - something I detested, waking up early. I dragged myself out of bed, and went downstairs to grab a bite to eat. She called me to make sure I was able to attend the meet up, she didn’t phrase that I HAD to go - it didn’t matter if I didn’t turn up, we could always rearrange it. Or to me, miss it and never speak to her again...

The fact she didn’t pen me into meeting her made me more open to speaking with her. I wanted to find out what she was aiming to do with me. I told her I’d still be able to meet her today and I would be heading out in a moment to meet her at the community centre where we had arranged to meet up the week before.

I have neglected to mention something to those of you reading this. You see I was housebound, I'd never leave the house and eventually the police had to perform an ‘alive and well’ check to make sure I was well... alive and well! This occurred around 6/7 months before Paula met me. Taking a step outside signified a massive leap of trust for someone I’d had a brief discussion with on the phone.

Paula, however, was extremely enthusiastic when I drudged over to the community centre. I was at first taken back - she was actually enthusiastic about meeting me and she was adamant about concentrating on the future, not the past!

I followed Paula inside and we ended up in a pre-booked private room, which I was glad for, as I was really nervous about talking to people other than her. She ordered some drinks, and we started our discussion.

It wasn’t a discussion of my past history. She assured me I’d be able to go into it with her when or if I wanted to - I wasn’t pressured into making hasty statements I’d regret. The worst thing that happened to me during our first meeting was me burning the roof off my mouth with hot tea. I’m sorry for not mentioning our conversation in great detail. Basically, Paula introduced herself and she explained why she wanted to talk to me and asked what I... expected to happen.

We discussed my past experiences of education, the pros and cons of school, how I had felt forgotten and ignored, how seeing my brother bullied and my family sickness destroyed my will to progress and resulted in me withdrawing both mentally and physically, how I was housebound and fell out of contact with all my friends. The best thing out of all of this is that Paula never judged me; she only encouraged me and gave me a listening ear.

Needless to say, after talking about my experiences I felt A LOT better. And by a lot I mean MUCH MUCH better - I felt happy enough to meet with Paula again when she suggested it. Note *suggested* - nothing was ever demanded of me and nothing was expected.

We finished our drinks, and after our first meeting we zipped up our coats and walked out, while Paula listed some DVDs that she recommended I should watch.

For the first time I had hope of escaping my situation.

And on that note I’m ending this entry until next time! Once again, thank you for reading and I hope some of what I’ve experienced is useful. Please come back and check for more entries soon and share them so that they can benefit others in similar situations.

About the Author


Kyle is a young person currently being assisted by Paula from TCHC. She is helping him to pursue further education or an apprenticeship/ employment in the IT industry.

Kyle has left education with minimal grades and is currently looking to get his life back on track. With the much valued and appreciated help from Paula and TCHC, he is starting to re-enter the educational/ working mindset required. He is being encouraged at every to turn to regain his confidence after a lengthy stint of family health issues and educational hurdles.

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