Posts Tagged ‘disability’

Marina Misic, SUNY Purchase

I am a political science major, and after graduation, I look to pursue higher education whether that be a graduate degree or a degree in law. Within my career, I would like to do something revolving around human rights advocacy. I am lucky enough that the Excelsior scholarship as well as a few others helped me receive an education tuition free. I have worked in the retail sector for over 2 years now and I work from 20-40+ hours a week depending on the time of the year and my availability. I have received funds from TAP, I would just like to make it accessible for more students and to cover more of the expenses. My biggest challenge when paying for college was paying the full cost of the tuition outright for my first semester, with the scholarships I was supposed to receive only giving me a refund at the end of the semester. As a commuter, I live at home with my single mother and we both work to pay our rent and afford all of our necessities. Recently the used car I had paid in full, broke down in the middle of the road and it was not salvageable. To make sure I had a reliable means of transportation to school and work, I had to get another used car from a dealership and I now have an additional 230 dollar monthly expense for 6 years. I have dealt with the problem of not having enough class options. Attending a school where the conservatories are the most funded, as a political science major, our program only has 2 full-time faculty, one of whom had taken the spring semester off for a sabbatical. As a result of this, the professors are very limited in what they can teach and none of the classes that were listed in my requirements for U.S. Politics and Law Courses were offered and my professor even brought up her concerns regarding this.The overall lack of accessibility for disabled people regarding the issues with the elevator in the humanities building and various other dormitories are big issues on campus. Another issue I had was that I was walking to class on a cold day and I did not realize that there was ice because my path was not closed off and was covered in snow. The ice caused me to trip and hurt my ankle pretty badly, and after 3 weeks I still have pain in my joint because of it. I really would want a more accessible and better-maintained campus to avoid any other injuries.

Mary Avella, Hunter College

I am a junior at Hunter College from Staten Island. I constantly have to walk up flights of stairs to meet with professors for office hours because the elevators don’t work. I can’t buy textbooks on the Hunter website because they are so expensive. Hunter doesn’t have enough funding for adequate COVID testing and coming back to school was terrible. The online classes were terrible. We don’t have enough options for disabled people. After many years of fighting, we are finally just able to get an elevator in the subway. While I pay out of pocket for school, I know others who are struggling and in need of help.

Wali Ullah, City College of NY

I’m a senior at the City College of New York studying Political Behavior & Analysis, a major that I designed with the help of a faculty mentor through the CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique & Interdisciplinary Studies Program. I’m hoping to graduate in the upcoming Fall 2020 semester. I also have Tourette Syndrome, generalized anxiety disorder, and ADHD.

Throughout my entire academic career, I’ve paid my tuition during the last month of the semester because I’m unable to get any financial aid at all and pay entirely out of pocket. In addition, I’ve been struggling with my anxiety and ADHD for a long time, not to mention personal and domestic issues. All of these problems have impacted me, making it difficult to stay positive, focused and productive at school, work, and home. Because of this, I started seeking help.

Throughout my time at Bronx Community College, where I graduated from in Fall 2018, I was able to see a mental health counselor on campus without any limit. Upon transferring to CCNY, I was limited to only 6 appointments with a CCNY mental health counselor. In Fall 2019, I was told that I maxed out my appointment limit, so they gave me a list of off-campus referrals. Only one of the referred clinics took my health insurance, so I went there in early October. A month after my intake appointment, I was told by the clinic that the earliest I’d be able to get my first appointment with a psychologist would be the middle of December.
I was already falling behind in my classes and didn’t have time to wait. I went to see a psychiatrist to get medication for my anxiety and ADHD and talked to most of my professors about the mental health issues I was struggling with throughout the semester. I have yet to find a readily available mental health professional, but I have no choice but to keep pushing myself and stay positive and healthy while at it if I want to graduate on time.

Mental health IS health. Lack of access to proper mental health support puts poor and marginalized students like me in an even worse mental state than before, and can severely affect the ability to emotionally function and stay happy & productive lives. CUNY’s proposed student health & wellness fee to fund mental health counseling services is not only burdensome for disadvantaged students but is also merely a band-aid solution.

To make sure students get the help they need from campus mental health services, there should be: (1) unlimited appointments and individualized counseling for students until they graduate, (2) more counselors and expand student wellness offices, and (3) on-campus psychological diagnosis & testing for mental health disorders and learning disabilities. The state must fund these programs so that all students have a fair shot at an education.

Rodney Colon, City College of NY

I get financial aid but it’s tooth and nail fighting for it. Because the financial aid office is so understaffed it can be very challenging to get the aid I need. I waited an entire semester to get my refund check. I spent money on a credit card to buy textbooks.

The elevators are horrific, like I’m disabled, the elevators and the escalators are never functioning. They do these band-aid fixes and they’re constantly still in disrepair. 

I take the shuttle from the subway station, it is reliable but it gets super packed, they definitely need more buses.