This is an exciting post as it’s our first ever guest post. As a blogger with a tiny fraction of internet pie, I like to share the work of fellow bloggers and creators like myself. This is how we have today’s post which is all about college.
Note: Chelsea has targeted these tips at people who are blind or vision impaired yet I believe they can apply to us all in some way shape or form.
To College Or Not to College. 10 Tips by Chelsea Munoz.
Growing up, I was told by nearly everyone I knew, that people go to college once they’ve graduated high school. That was it; literally the only person who’d regularly told me that not everyone makes the same choices for their life paths, was my maternal grandma. But although her words were most likely meant to take the pressure off of me, they didn’t accomplish that goal. And so, when I went to a couple different colleges right out of high school, I had no fucking idea how to navigate said college experience. And so now, as a 30-something year old whose chosen to go to college, I find that my experience is totally different this time around. And I’ve compiled a list of advice that I’d like people to know generally about the college experience, as well as things I’d like folks to know about the college experience as a multiply-disabled, several times over chronically ill college student. The list reads as follows:
1. If you feel incredibly pressured by others to go to college, don’t try to be a people-pleaser. Instead, spend your time figuring out what it is that makes you come alive…and then, figure out how you can make that happen for yourself in a way that makes you feel successful and contributes to your happiness.
2. Understand that your decision to go to college straight out of high school, or to not go to college straight out of high school, does not have to be treated as though it is set in stone.
3. Understand that once you turn 18, your life is yours to live; and so if you choose to go to college after you’ve lived life a bit, don’t let others badger you for changing your mind or for choosing something different than what you’ve wanted in the past.
4. If you have disabilities that are documented, do what you can to familiarize yourself with the laws in the state you want to go to college in; it’s important that you arm yourself with as much information about your rights as possible, rather than just hoping that other folks will give you that information.
5. Along those same lines, don’t be afraid or unwilling to speak up for yourself throughout your college experience…because it is your college experience, after all.
6. Understand that when you speak up for yourself or others, there will always be people who try to silence you. These people may be in positions of power, but they may also be other college students or faculty members or even people close to you. But if you know that you are right about something related to your college experience, don’t back down about it.
7. If you have any chronic health conditions, please understand that even though most people will not tell you this, you deserve to have a great college experience, just like anyone else does; and this applies no matter how much time it takes for you to become successful, in the ways that you envision for yourself.
8. If you have any chronic health conditions, please listen to the things that your body is telling you–because the way college culture is currently structured, it does not work for those of us who have chronic health issues that can often get in the way of us living our lives. And I’m sad to say this, but for the most part, people will try to demean us because our bodies cannot, and will not, fit into the college structure as it currently functions. But that being said, this is why I encourage you to work at the pace that your individual body will allow.
9. Don’t feel like you have to justify your choices or your disabilities or your chronic health conditions to anyone throughout your college experience…because you are entitled to privacy, just as folks are who don’t have these things to take into consideration.
10. If you are someone who has dreams about accomplishing something that hasn’t been done at the college you attend or the college you want to attend, go for those things, within reason. What I mean in saying this, is that even though people have told me more times than I can count, that I can do anything I put my mind to, that saying is bullshit. Because as someone who’s been legally blind since birth, I cannot safely become a pilot or a surgeon…but I can do other things quite well. And so, when you dream what is possible regarding your college experience, be realistic in your dreams. And if you are unsure whether something you’ve dreamed is reasonable, seek out for example, other blind people such as myself, who will be able to tell you honestly yet compassionately, what is realistic and what isn’t…but who will also uplift you in ways that sighted people may not.
A big thank you to Chelsea for sharing her thoughts here on my blog and a big thank you to everyone who reads. You can find Chelsea online.
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Thanks always for reading,