In the first part of this article, I addressed the famous phrase that my grandfather used to say, emphasizing the importance of lifelong learning, as we are in a constant process of learning. I also shared with you an interview conducted by La Farga School, where I spent my entire school years.

Now, in this second part of the article, I want to involve you in the interview that Ángeles Doñate of  Open University of Catalonia (UOC) conducted with me in 2020. At this university I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Multimedia between 2014 and 2021. In the book, I explain in detail how this experience was. For me, it was a valuable opportunity because, due to my health condition, studying remotely allowed me to adapt to my health needs at all times. Despite the distance, I was fortunate to have a tutor who cared deeply about my needs, and I dedicate this article to him as a token of gratitude.

One aspect that caught my attention was the UOC’s continuous assessment system, which I find very interesting and useful. This system allows you to directly apply theory to practice. However, it must be acknowledged that there were times when academic demands were rigorous, with up to five assignments to submit simultaneously. I now invite you to read the full interview.

Xavi Argemí, Bachelor’s Degree in Multimedia student and author of Aprendre a morir per poder viure

In the words of the writer Jose Luis Sampedro, “death is the companion of life. We begin to die the day we are born and we need to understand how to make the most of it.” The quote would suggest that this humanist would have had much in common with Bachelor’s Degree in Multimedia student, Xavi Argemí, who has just published his own book, entitled Aprendre a morir per poder viure [Learning to die to be able to live], in which he outlines his personal experiences and thoughts on the subject, infused with a sense of joy and hope. As a child, Xavi was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a degenerative disease characterised by progressive muscle weakness. Now twenty-five, his movement is restricted to his fingers and head, which means he needs assistance to carry out the majority of his daily tasks and is confined to a wheelchair. As he explains in his book, which marks his debut as an author, death and his own mortality are everyday realities which he has learned to live with.

What made you decide to write this book and share your story?

It’s something that some of my friends and family members have been saying I should do for a long time to tell people about the way I see life, but I’ve always been reticent because I don’t want to be in the spotlight. The thing that convinced me was the thought that it might help people who find themselves in similar circumstances to mine. It all started with a letter I wrote to La Vanguardia expressing my support for palliative care in the debate about euthanasia. That led to me being interviewed for the TV3 programme, Planta Baixa, which, in turn, led to the Rosa dels Vents publishing house approaching me about writing the book.

Can you tell us about why you feel that life should be lived to the natural end?

Euthanasia is a treatment to bring about my death. And I want something else from medicine: to be treated because I’m dying. To put it another way, it’s much better to invest in supporting people with what they’re going through. Palliative care provides a much better response all round, both for me and for those close to me. It addresses the things people want: to feel adequately supported, to be free from pain, to allow nature to take its course and enjoy the life we still have. Euthanasia is not about political leanings, life and the right to live transcend that kind of discourse. To me, my objections to euthanasia as a solution are human, not political.

What are your own hopes for the future?

To enjoy the little things in every moment, to share projects with others, participate in everyone’s joys and help ease their difficulties and sorrows.

Who did you write this book for? What did you want to convey to them?

I was thinking about people in situations similar to mine and the people close to them. And people encountering difficulties of any kind. I wanted to convey a message of hope and tell them that you can be happy despite any limitations or problems you may have and to learn to value the little everyday things that we often overlook.

What is a typical day in the life of Xavi Argemí like?

Apart from daily personal care routines, I try to be as active as possible and focus on things that I enjoy: studying and working to finish my Multimedia degree, chatting with friends and, now, answering emails and social media posts from people who have read the book, family, etc. All very routine and at the same time very different every day.

What makes you happy in life?

Being with the people I love, enjoying their projects and sharing mine. I had a very happy childhood thanks to the family I have.

What are the cornerstones of your life?

Family, friends, spiritual support and medicine.

Tell us a bit about your family

There are four of us at home now: my parents, one of my sisters and me. They are my lifeblood, I need them all the time, both day and night. On top of the physical aids I have, they support me in every way. In fact, they are my arms and my feet. Apart from that, everyone needs company and psychological and human support.

As a child, you were able to lead a life like that of any other child your age: playing football, running around, riding a bike, going to school, etc. I understand that your movement is now restricted to moving your mouse or typing on your mobile phone.

I was always aware of my physical limitations but the functional loss has been progressive. As my falls became more and more frequent at school and at home, I became aware of being different. Little by little, I stopped being able to do things that other kids my age did: playing ball, climbing stairs, and so on.

Have you ever felt angry or a sense of helplessness about your situation?

We all have difficult times, but I’ve always managed to keep going. Even now there are still times when I wish I could be cured.

You mentioned the importance of spiritual support… Why?

Christianity brings me hope and a sense of existence, the fundamental requirements for happiness.

What made you choose the UOC and decide on Multimedia as an area of study?

I couldn’t attend a traditional on-site university because of my condition. The UOC has an excellent reputation so I thought it would be a good option. Why Multimedia? Because I wanted to do something in the digital world and because I was drawn to the world of graphic design, which one of my sisters introduced me to.

What has your experience as a student been like?

Very good, overall. Especially because of people like Antonio Ponce, who has been my tutor for the majority of the time I’ve been studying and because of how easy it is to communicate with my teachers and classmates.

If you look to the future, are you afraid, do you feel sad?

I don’t feel sadness or fear but I do think about the difficult times that may come. But the fact that I’ve already been through some of it gives me some peace of mind. But death commands respect.