Going to university can be fun, scary, stressful and altogether challenging. So to make it just a little easier, we put together a few tips for those making the leap.
Contact the relevant departments.
Universities will have disability or accessibility departments that will provide relevant services to their students that require additional help. I would recommend getting in contact with them as soon as possible to get the most of their services.
Research the university and the local area.
Make sure you know what is nearby, if you need urgent care, where will you need to go? Where is the nearest hospital? Some universities have their buildings spread out, others (like the university I attended) are contained to a campus, meaning traveling is less difficult.
Choose your university halls carefully.
It is helpful to consider things like the location of your halls, will it be close to your classes? How long will it take to get to services like the library or the medical centre? If you struggle with mobility, will you be on the ground floor? If not, is there a lift? These will be things that the support staff at the university will be able to assist you with.
Inform the people around you.
If you choose to stay in halls, more often than not, your condition will end up affecting the people around you in some way. So it is important that you feel you can be honest and open with them about your condition. Doing so will help you bond with them and mean there is no awkwardness to skirt around, honesty is the best policy!
Be outgoing as much as you are comfortable.
Making connections will be essential to you succeeding at university. And these connections will be made through shared experiences. Don't be afraid to push yourself to go out and have these experiences and forge these connections. The more people you have in your corner, the easier life will be for you.
Establish your boundaries
Living with other people can be challenging, so it is important that you make sure those you are living with are aware of your boundaries, to minimise conflict or frustrations.
Contact the student union.
University student unions often have officers dedicated to meeting the needs of students with disabilities or other medical conditions. These officers can also liaise with the university on your behalf if this is something you feel uncomfortable doing.
Nobody finds the transition easy, but the best thing to do is keep an open mind and a positive attitude. The change can be daunting, especially if you are leaving some of your care systems behind, but in a lot of cases, the independence can be freeing.
Written by James Brooks
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