It’s been a while since I’ve last written a life update type blog post, if you follow me on my Instagram, you may have seen that I’ve had a lot going on- as always what with chronic health conditions you never really know what’s round the corner!
Health wise I’ve been okay since I’ve been on new’ish’ migraine meds, but since I’ve moved house I’ve been having a nightmare accessing support at university and living in a horrible sewagey house LOL.
I’m feeling a bit aggy at the moment as I feel like I’ve spent the last month fighting. Both the University to ensure reasonable adjustments are put in place for all disabled students and my letting agents to convince them that a house with sewage water leaking into the kitchen, is in fact not a safe environment for someone to live in- particularly someone with a weak immune system. I’ve now got a kidney infection and feeling pretty rubbish! I’m tired.
I spent two years at University begging for support before the pandemic. Here I am now - in my final year. I won’t give up.
My disability coordinator at the university is incredible. He really does do all he can to help me. He sees so many other students, yet still finds time to make sure he does his utmost to ensure that my needs are met. Admittedly- I am one of his more complicated cases!
Unfortunately the uni as a whole are much less supportive. While in the year 2021, they are still claiming not to have the technology to record lectures, stating not to be ‘an online institution and inaccessible buildings. So many other universities offer lecture capture, pre recorded lectures, live streaming and replay. It’s incredibly upsetting to know that in the four years I’ve been at University, I felt like perhaps with the pandemic I’d moved towards them finally being more accomodating, yet realistically- this is still not the case. Class rooms are ‘legally accessible’ but realistically inaccessible, and would likely not pass an audit if in everyday use.
Without blowing my own trumpet (or saxophone). I’m fairly bright- I always did well in school - I had to work exceptionally hard but as a perfectionist personality type I always ensured I did well. With the right support in place I know I can succeed. It makes me sad to think that I had to intermit due to lack of support from the university in second year - how many other people are in similar positions. How many people aren’t able to go back due to access needs not being able to be met? Disabled people are being disabled by society and the lack of accessibility. The global pandemic proved it was possible to adapt overnight, yet only some lecturers seem comfortable to continue to accommodate needs. I was getting 1sts and high 2:1’s. Compare this with my grades the year before I intermittent (at the advice of the university) and the only changing factor was my learning style.If you can do it during a pandemic for thousands of students, you can continue to make accommodations. I'm sorry!
I’ve managed to make agreements with some lecturers and convince some of them to do written summaries of their lectures. This helps me to some extent, which is great. This doesn’t help the students who aren’t able to attend class due to their disabilities, the students unable to speak up for themselves due to severe anxiety, students with sensory needs, students who are carers, those at home struggling, students living at home due to the pandemic, students who may be parents of vulnerable people. It should be standard, not a battle!
I messaged in April last academic year to begin preparing for this academic year to get support set in place. Uni started two weeks ago… I’ve not been able to get in due to my access needs… yeah.
I’m not afraid to shout out about my needs & when I am well enough - I am able to advocate for myself- sadly many disabled people can’t. It is not fair. These resources need to be readily available for everyone. Not me when I beg for support. It should be as standard.
Don’t give me these rubbish excuses anymore!
The school of humanities (the department of which my degree fits into) doesn't seem to understand how draining this is for me. Certain lecturers think by recording their content, their students might put it on YouTube and there will be copyright issues, alternatively students may not attend lectures if there are recorded alternatives.
Do they know that the revision process is so much easier when we can rewatch/ pause/ rewind?
Anyone can become disabled at any time . The act of getting to uni is exhausting, I cannot get my wheelchair out of my car by myself, I don’t have carers. Why don't they seem to understand that my quality of work will lessen and this will look bad on them?!
When I leave the University of Brighton I will be releasing a statement of all their wrong doings with an aim to work with uni on improving accessibility for disabled students moving forward. But for now I will continue to keep my mouth closed.
My life doesn’t revolve around university, it infact revolves around my chronic illnesses. 17% of people are born with disabilities but 97% of people die with a disability. You will be disabled. Sorry. Hate to break it to you. It will affect you. Whether you want to admit it or not.
Accessing education is a right not a privilege!
1 in 6 people in a lecture hall have a disability yet the university of Brighton isn’t accessible to disabled students.
Make accommodations available to all students - not just to those who fight tirelessly for hours to get provisions put in place to support them in their studies!
Over and out xxx