Independence vs. assistance
This is something that’s got me thinking a lot recently. I am soon to be making that transition from life in my safe college bubble, out in to the big world of university, a nerve wracking prospect for any student, despite all the fun and frolics that lay ahead.
As a student with a disability I’m looking forward to the experience, but as with everything (It would seem) there is so much more to worry about if you have a disability.
I approach the time with care, a lot of thought goes in to what I am going to need at uni, thinking of every department I am going to have to talk to in order to sort all my specialist requirements. It’s not just the obvious people you would think of either there’s accommodation, IT, course tutors and just about every other department. Many a person would say I could get help informing everyone of my needs, but in my experience it is far better to be completely proactive, thus insuring there are no excuses later on for a person to be an a***!
There is a lot of practical planning going on in my head to, hopefully I will have a guide dog by the time of the big move, so whilst planning I also have to consider things like the location of the nearest vet, where am I going to store its food, what am I going to do if it rolls in something disgusting and I’m sharing a room with it! etc…
Then there’s all the new routes, being a priority. I have to be able to get to the nearest station, hospital, doctors and dentist independently I have to remember all these new areas and feel confident in my surroundings. Then there’s navigating the campus, finding my own room in halls, did I already mention I’m going to have to work out how to use a new cooker and washing machines and god knows what else!
So anyway I think you get the point there is one hell of a lot of stuff to sort out if you are a disabled student flying the nest in search of higher educational delights!
I think I am being sensible in my approach to all the challenges ahead of me, I may have to fight for what I need and I am fully prepared to do so, I have fought many a battle before I’m sure I shall succeed in getting all the support I need from the disability service at whatever uni I end up at.
Yet despite this I keep being told by people at college that they are concerned about my independence and how I am going to cope at uni, they are trying to prepare me, subtly reduce my support so I am prepared for the shock that awaits me. I do not agree with this.
The support I need now and the support I am going to need at uni are very different things; the structure of lectures at uni is completely different to the structure of lesions I am studying currently, this is going to work in my favour I hope. I’m planning to digitally record lectures so that if my notes are not detailed enough and I miss things I will always have a back up. I could not apply a system like that to my lesions now because they are so different.
My point is I do not accept that I am not independent, nor do I think that I am going to struggle my way through my 3 years at uni due to a lack of support. So I fail to see the relevance of forcing me to be more independent now, when really the situation I’m in does not allow it. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that college and university are such very different things I don’t see how it all computes!
• Visit Diary of a Monkey