UMass the best school for me

Published: 5/3/2021 4:32:04 PM Similar to my peers, when I sit in the socially distanced crowd at McGuirk Alumni Stadium on May 14 a...

Published: 5/3/2021 4:32:04 PM

Similar to my peers, when I sit in the socially distanced crowd at McGuirk Alumni Stadium on May 14 and move the gold tassel from the right side of my mortarboard to the left, I am saying goodbye to a chapter of my life. However, unlike the majority of my classmates, it has sometimes seemed like an impossible journey because of the obstacles that were stacked against me from the beginning of my college application process.

I began the process of looking at colleges in the fall of 2015, approximately a year and a half before I was due to graduate high school. At the beginning of my college search, I had my heart set on attending a liberal arts school. I knew that I wanted to major in English and I could foresee myself prospering in a closeknit campus that catered to promoting creativity. My initial dream had to change as I became more acquainted with the hand-tying regulations at colleges that don’t receive federal funding and the arbitrarily discriminatory principles upon which their campuses are built.

While meeting with individuals in the disability services departments of various colleges throughout my junior year of high school, I was politely blunt about the accommodations that I would need in order to succeed in a collegiate environment. My mom would cement my points by giving them glimpses from the piles of my IEP paperwork that we had brought with us, which the mere sight of would inevitably prompt the administrators’ eyes to glaze over.

Time and time again, during these visits their acknowledgment of my need for accommodations would elicit the same takeaway messages; they wouldn’t be able to provide the resources necessary for me to participate in my classes remotely. And if my mom and I were somehow able to piece together all the integral parts ourselves, there was no guarantee that they would work because of the unreliability of the Wi-Fi in the historic buildings.

Five years later, these colleges have adopted strategies for remote learning in nothing short of a seamless fashion. It’s a shame that it only took a global pandemic for them to realize what was possible in terms of accessibility.

While those comments were somewhat inflammatory to me at the time, there was one in particular from early on in the search process that stands out to me in hindsight. One of the administrator’s at a local prestigious liberal arts college looked my mom and me in the eye and had the gall to recommend that I undergo cognitive testing to provide concrete evidence of my mental capacity. Her reasoning for bringing it up, as she continued to skirt around the heart of the issue at hand, was that because I had a paraprofessional throughout my public school education, some might question whether my work was mine or that of my para’s. Therefore, if there ever came a point where that fact would be called into question, the test results would prove otherwise.

At that moment, I recall feeling a mixture of shock and indignation at the prospect of what she was proposing. More than five years later, when I think back on that day, those same emotions still course through my veins. It’s a painful reminder of the fact that my physical limitations placed a target on my back that would allow for questioning my ability to belong within a professional environment, whether that be in a collegiate setting or beyond.

However, this incident only cemented my innate desire to prove to each new professor I encountered along the way that I deserved to be there and taken as seriously as the rest of my able-bodied peers. This deep-rooted premise is one that I have perpetuated to my own detriment. My aversion to ask for any type of extension in my coursework because I had been conditioned to associate accommodation with intellectual weakness only inflamed my physical weaknesses more. To the point where, I would have difficulty managing my own saliva as I consistently pushed myself past the brink of exhaustion to meet paper deadlines. It is only within the latter part of my undergraduate career and because of the excellent faculty I have met, that I have gained the confidence to advocate for myself.

The first time that I came to the UMass campus and met with Disability Services in the spring of 2016, I knew immediately that this was where I belonged. UMass was the only college out of the six to which I applied that exhibited no hesitation when it came to meeting my accommodations. I felt accepted and welcomed in the campus, in a way that I had not felt on any other campus. In many ways it was my only option, whereas the rest were just pipe dreams.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 19% of students in undergraduate programs identified as having a disability. And the reason is that most colleges are unaccommodating or inaccessible for the disabled population. In the year 2021, that is a disgraceful reality.

I had to trade my dream of attending a liberal arts college for a dream that was tangible. And thank goodness I had the foresight to do so. Attending UMass was one of the best decisions I ever made, and because I have of their willingness to accommodate me I am rolling away with more than I could’ve imagined.

Joanna Buoniconti is graduating this month from the Commonwealth Honors College with degrees in English and Journalism.

Source link



Africa,803,Americas,4086,Art & Culture,14742,Arts,6448,Arts & Design,1625,Asia,3228,Automobile,456,Baseball,596,Basketball,489,Books,3840,Business,5284,Celebrity,2633,Cricket,648,Crime,158,Cryptocurrency,1501,Dance,651,Defense,836,Diplomatic Relations,2496,Economy,1111,Editorial,260,Education,1213,Elections,308,Energy & Environment,3065,Entertainment,22562,Environment,3573,Europe,4176,Faith & Religion,235,Family & Life,817,Fashion & Style,3205,Finance,19740,Food & Drink,3694,Football,1103,Games,97,Gossip,10289,Health & Fitness,4034,Health Care,936,Hockey,222,Home & Garden,920,Humour,994,Latin America,49,Lifestyle,16877,Media,527,Middle East,1492,Movies,1678,Music,2601,Opinion,2948,Other,11777,Other Sports,4987,Political News,11324,Political Protests,2324,Politics,17594,Real Estate,1805,Relationship,106,Retail,3116,Science,2587,Science & Tech,9885,Soccer,214,Space & Cosmos,337,Sports,12046,Technology,3388,Tennis,542,Theater,1648,Transportation,313,Travel,2530,TV,3642,US,73,US Sports,1481,Video News,3531,War & Conflict,1069,Weird News,998,World,16255,
Newsrust - US Top News: UMass the best school for me
UMass the best school for me
Newsrust - US Top News
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy Table of Content