Lifestyle Uni Life

How to handle being a uni student with a disability

My desk at home

Life can be really tough living with a disability or impairment and throwing uni into the mix can be quite overwhelming. It’s important to remember that even getting accepted into university is a huge achievement and that you’ve come so far in just taking that step. Unfortunately living with a disability is hard, but taking one step at a time in your degree and knowing your limits are the two most important things you can do to succeed at uni.

Hi, I’m Amanda-Jean, and I’m a student at Griffith University with a disability. I find studying really tough sometimes and there are some days that I really just want to quit. There are some days where I wake up and I’m too sick to come to uni — that’s what inspired me to write this blog post. I want to share a bit of my story and how you can overcome the obstacles that come with being a student with a disability.

Thanks to my illness, I’ve dropped out of uni about 5 times (I’ve lost count, though). People have judged me BIG TIME. They think I’m just indecisive and a quitter, when they don’t know the bigger picture. But I’m really proud to say I’ve managed to make it through a whole trimester studying Government and International Relations here at Griffith. But I couldn’t have done it without the help of all the people around me and the disability services we have at Griffith. So, here are my tips and tricks on how to succeed at uni living with a disability:

  • Reach out to the people around you, whether that be your doctors, parents, friends or anyone else who can help you. It’s important to have support when things get hard.
  • Make friends in your classes so if you miss a class, you can ask your friends to share their notes. This is a huge help.
  • Email your course convenors. If you don’t feel comfortable telling your full story then don’t, but I find it best to just be open and honest so they know what they’re dealing with. It’s the only way they can help you.
  • Try to arrange your timetable so you have at least a day or two off. If you can’t, try to get a decent break at some point in between classes so you can study and get ahead, also for a bit of relaxation time.
  • I find it best to be ahead of your work. That way if something goes wrong, you’ve got the ability to take a bit of time off.
  • Reach out to disability services on campus. It is such a big help. Honestly, disability services are amazing. They get in contact with your lecturers and tutors on your behalf – in my case it saved me from getting a heap of medical certificates. I swear I have about 100 medical certificates saved on my computer from when I tried to look after it all myself, it’s so much easier to get assistance through disability services.
  • If you need emotional/mental health support because it’s feeling all too overwhelming, reach out to the free counselling services on campus.

Uni is challenging for everyone, but with a bit of persistence and motivation getting a degree is something that is totally achievable. When things seem too hard, do not give up, and remember there is help available.

Stay strong, you can do it!

– Amanda-Jean 

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