Think Outside The Information Box 

Well, hello there! 
Being a Disabled Student is a very interesting experience so far. Even more interesting when you have a very recent basis for comparison. The obligatory “oh, what did you do to yourself”s or the awkward offers of help from people whom you’ve shared lecture theatres with for the last two normally abled years; those things have a sense of humanity about them because usually they take the form of interactions with humans…depending on the disability, of course…I once saw a man having an intense conversation with his lunch and I like to keep an open mind. 
My interest doesn’t stem from the well-meaning empathy of fellow students, no. It is the cold hard steel of the hoops one has to jump (something I don’t find easy ) through in order to obtain the reasonable support as a disabled student.
University is stressful, you know. In fact, in my experience, it should come with a public health warning. They could have it flash up as you press ‘confirm’ on your UCAS application like one of those error alerts: 
Potential Student, you are about to commit to 3 to 4 years of emotional turmoil, financial strain and borderline psychosis. Are you sure you wish to continue?
It’s a firm, fast shove into “adulting” and this opinion is coming from a mature student of 26. I’m also pretty sure that it causes some sort of Stockholm syndrome as this is my SECOND degree.
I am joking, of course. university can be one of the most exciting, enlightening and enthralling time of your life. Nowhere else will you be able to establish how much you can function after how much drink and how little sleep, debate with people twice your age without reprisal, and contemplate all the other careers you could have chosen that didn’t involve writing 2500 word essays that are due in 12 hours. You make friends who will be more intimate with your body parts than your own mother, and you realise that Netflix is the cheapest holiday you’ll ever take (chill or no chill). And at the end you will have a degree. A really good and useful one given the appropriate support! 
Before my CFS, support came in the form of cake and movies, a blue wkd with karaoke on a Friday night at the Union and really helpful library staff. 
Not much of that has changed out of those activities (aside from the amount of cake and alcohol consumed, and possibly the amount of time I spend in the library) but now we can add to it how I get to class, what I do in class, how many books I get out, how I write my essays, the way I sit, how often I go to class, what I do if I don’t get to class. And them hoops? There are loads and they’re razor sharp and spinning…and on fire…and they change size…and some of them are really slimy! Seriously, if a dog was jumping through them; it would be on the live shows of BGT! 
Okay, no. They’re paper hoops-forms. We’re talking forest’s worth! But there are fricken hundreds of ’em. And filling in those microscopic boxes when you’re shaking more than Taylor Swift…well…no one would pay a ticket to see it. Okay, they would if they really didn’t like T-Swizzle. But it’s arduous, flailing and involves a lot of screaming in frustration…actually quite similar to Taylor Swift. 
I find it remarkable that, in order to get support as someone with enough significant differences to warrant additional support…they certainly make you put in additional effort, more than double of the average student! Oh what cruel irony! 
However, once you’ve done some significant leg work, you do get yourself into a place where there are many people and facilities available for those applying for DSA who genuinely want to make sure you are provided for appropriately especially if you are honest and open regarding your abilities or even lack there of! And I’m not just talking about the official folk! I had a massive amount of advice from a certain postgrad student who is part of my instafamily regarding my needs assessment! It really boosted my confidence when she advised me that the assessor is there to help me and not to trip me up as I had feared! 
Aside from my PIP claim STILL remaining undecided and the usual CFS nonsense, I’m really looking forward to the trials and successes of my final year! And I can begin to relax a little and enjoy myself some more! Blue WKD for everyone! 
Shall see you anon,


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