Going to College

Transcript: My advocacy plan


I believe advocating for yourself is learning how to be comfortable, either asking for help, explaining your disability … learning how to be comfortable talking about yourself to others, and I think with advocating for yourself you have to learn your rights and follow through with getting them. And I think it’s a good lesson to learn early because if you’re at a job and you need certain things, your boss won’t be able to read your mind or anything, you need to tell them. So I think it was a good lesson for me.


I think the first step in being an advocate for myself is looking at honestly myself and what my physical abilities are, what my needs might be in a particular environment, identifying those needs, then identifying who might be able to help me with those needs — for example like in the disability support services, and then brainstorm with them how these needs may be able to be met in the environment that I want to go into.


[Banner: “TA – Teacher’s Assistant”]

I did have an instance where I was being given a test by a TA who just really, honestly didn’t know better and she cut my time off and I was supposed to have unlimited time, and due to the fact that it takes me so long to write things down … I just went with the scenario at the time and I didn’t want to argue with her because there was no point. She was just trying to do what she thought was right. She turned it into the professor; I got a D on it. Once I got that grade back, I went back to the professor and I asked him if he talked to the TA about the situation, and I noticed that by the way he was grading it and had I been allowed to finish I would have gotten at least a C, and I pointed this out to him and I did it in a respectful manner without demanding things … or just being plain rude. And he noticed what I was talking about and he said that he believed that I was right, and compensated for that … that problem with the TA and also discussed with her later.


Coming into college right out of high school was so different because I always have people doing stuff for me, so when it came to the 504 plans you had your parents in there. They talk with the teachers. If you had a problem, your teacher would talk to this person but you didn’t really engage in those conversations that involved you as much. But once you get into college no one’s there to do that for you, you have to take it upon yourself to talk to your professors and you have to take it upon yourself to let people know what’s going on. And I just really had to be confident, I also had supportive parents and friends and if I needed to practice something like speaking with a teacher or speaking with someone else who may work in the college environment, I would practice a little bit with one of my friends and see what they say about it, let them help me improve.


In the context of college to advocate for myself, it’s approaching my professors and informing them about my disability and educating them about what accommodations I’m gonna need and what they can do to help me. It is talking to my peers and informing them about my disability, and not what they can do to help me succeed, but the different areas of group work that I’m going to be strong at or things that — like the final editing, I should never do final editing on papers. And I learned that, so it’s telling my peers that it’s not because I don’t want to contribute, it’s just I cannot do final editing for our papers. Someone else needs to do that.