Technology & Programming
For me, having a strong community of supports was the difference between dropping out and graduating from college. Possibly due to my disability, it was hard to make friends and set up the sort of community of supports that I think many people develop naturally. My academic performance suffered as a result, and after a disappointing freshman year, I took a semester leave of absence to collect myself. When I came back, I quickly and deliberately created a strong community of supports both in and outside of school.
After reaching out to my academic advisor, I found out that my college offered several supports to its students for no additional charge, and I used these programs as soon as I could. I scheduled regular meetings with my academic advisor and enrolled in peer tutoring to help me improve my academic performance. I also reached out to Disability Resources for Students, and, after developing my relationship with them, they helped advocate for me with my professors and helped ensure that I received the proper accommodations, such as extra time on exams and peer tutoring.
I also reached out to several disability support groups, including AccessSTEM, to connect with others. I found that people who had a similar disability immediately understood what I was going through and expressed sympathy and support, without me having to explain my first year or apologize for my disability. Because of this, I made some of my strongest friendships during college through these groups, which also connected me with many career opportunities and internships.
While I was in college, I served as a paid information technology intern at a major government office in Washington D.C. through an internship placement program hosted by the American Association of People with Disabilities.
Probably my most important supporters were (and still are) my parents. During college, I connected with them on a daily basis to talk about things on my “to-do” list and make plans. They kept me on top of all my social, academic, and career obligations. Now as I transition to my adult life after college, I’m maintaining my own to-do lists independently.
Thanks to my community of supports, I came back from my disappointing freshman year and graduated from college. I’m now beginning my career as a programmer analyst at a major utilities company. I’m currently searching for my new community of supports as I begin this new part of my life.