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Thread: college

  1. #1


    Have any of you gone to college out of state, and independently? It seems to me to be a very difficult thing to do. I really want to go to college by myself, but I don't know if I would be able to live on my own for the first time so far away from anyone and everything I know. So, if any of you have done this please share your experience and don't candy coat it, tell it like it was or is, the good and the bad. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Amy, I am moving your topic to the Life Forum where more people can see and respond to your question. Wise.

  3. #3
    This is a good topic. I am a c4 and am considering school in Boston. It just seems really scary to be that far away from the safety net of my family.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jeff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Argao, Cebu, Philippines

    Hi Amy

    I left home for college two years after injury. I was still very dependent on my family when I left. Looking back it's really strange how I just embarked without really having proved to anyone, least of all myself, that I could live on my own. I had no caregivers. The school offered me helpers to do errands and such but I didn't avail of that. I just kind of muddled through. I missed a lot of classes due to problems with bowel/bladder routines that just didn't work. But I kept at it, learned better ways to do everything and got grades high enough to stay in. After a couple years I had learned so much and could function well on my own. It was the best thing I ever did. I really blossomed from an angry, bitter person to someone who saw potential for himself. It was also fun in spite of how hard it was.

    I don't know what level you are but I am a C6. That meant I was still in a learning curve for just about everything. If you are a para I wouldn't hesitate. If you are a low quad you might possibly want to explore getting help for certain things. Either way I highly recommend that you go off to school and be independent. You'll be busy and have friends and be accomplishing something. The satisfaction and self-esteem are priceless. It really helped me overcome the depression from my injury and start living. I wish you the best in this regard!

    ~See you at the SCIWire-used-to-be-paralyzed Reunion ~

  5. #5
    I am from Mississippi, and I went back to undergrad 8 months post injury in Tennessee on my own. I didn't have a car (probably why I graduated with a 3.62)
    and lived in the school housing. I had a good time and got a great education. It all depends on the disabled student office at the college that you would like to attend. I would suggest doing a site search about disabled colleges here and at New This is a topic that has been talked about many times. If you can't find specifically what you are looking for, give us a shout back, ok?

    "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked..."
    - Allen Ginsburg

  6. #6
    Senior Member 94Vette's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2002


    Hi Amy

    Well I guess everyone has different motivations for going back to school... 4 years after my accident (C5) I went back and got my MBA. For me it was to say "I can do this" ... It wasn't easy and I found that had to work a lot harder than anybody else (everything takes more time!) But I found that it was a great experience and I made some great friends!


  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Hi Amy

    I'm in the same boat as you, I'm just taking my A level exams (in England) and am going to Nottingham University in September (if I get the grades!). I'm petrified! I have lived with my family all my life including the 2 1/2 years since my accident.

    I'm going to live in the halls and have visited the University to check out the accomodation and accessibility. They have a great disability officer there who I liase with about making the room right for me. They also have said that they will change any lecture halls that my lectures will be in that arn't accessible.

    I hope I can get my life back once I get there. I'm a C7 quad and am independent with my personal care, although I have no physical stamina so I cannot push outside very far. So I've booked myself in for a 10 week intensive physio course over the summer where I'm going to stay in a hotel by myself and learn to be really independent!

    I want my social life back as well, at 19 I should be dating guys, getting drunk and living it up! Not sat in my room watching and becoming more and more envious of my younger sister doing all the things I used to do with all the people I used to know.

    My advice is go for it, I am!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Bensalem, PA

    Go for it!

    I grew up in Maryland and went to school in New Mexico (Eastern New Mexico University). I received a scholarship from them prior to my injury (which occurred a week before I was supposed to leave for NM). They held my scholarship until the following year and put me in an apartment in married/grad student housing.

    This was a very small school, but it was extremely accessible (it probably helped that it's so flat out there!) and they were very helpful. I didn't know anyone when I went out there, and I didn't have a car. I made some great friends, and they helped me out a lot. The local grocery store made deliveries, as did the local pharmacy. The bank and the post office were right across the street from my apartment.

    I transferred from ENMU to the U of MD at College Park halfway through my junior year, and this was a mistake. Personally, I just didn't belong at such a large school. The campus was huge (in comparison to ENMU) and quite hilly, and the buildings were old. They had a paratransit shuttle service to take me to all my classes (which I needed-- no way could I push myself up all those hills and such long distances), but I hated it and was absolutely miserable. I was much happier at ENMU where I could leave my apartment on my own and make it to all my classes in five minutes. This is not to say that UMD is a bad school; it just wasn't for me.

    You can absolutely go to school far from home with no worries so long as you communicate with the school about your needs, make some plans ahead of time and visit the school(s) you're interested in. And don't make the same mistake I did! Really think about the type of environment you want to be in. I transferred because I wanted to go to a more "prestigious" school and because I thought I wanted to get lost in a crowd. Instead, I found that I didn't get the types of relationships with my professors that I had and enjoyed at ENMU, many of the students at UMD came across as snotty, sports seemed to be way too important to the school for my taste, and there were way too many fraternities and sororities for my taste (feh, it was like high school all over again!). Also, UMD placed me in a suite and then a couple of apartments, and I had roommates in all of those situations. I wasn't used to this after my prior experience of having an on-campus apartment all to myself and found that this also added to my unhappiness there. I eventually moved to an off-campus apartment and utilized the school's local bus service for students. There are advantages and disadvantages to large and small schools alike.

    Good luck!


  9. #9
    I'm going back in the fall too. I'm already on my own, I'm a low quad so I get help just to make things faster, and safer. So, good luck... let us know what happens!

    "It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible
    to find it elsewhere."
    --Agnes Repplier, writer and historian

  10. #10

    some suggestions

    You didn't indicate where you live, so I'll give some general advice. If you live in the US, you should be involved with your State VR program. They probably won't encourage you to attend school out of state, but you can make a case for it if the out of state school has a program or accessibility you can't get in state. However, be prepared for much higher costs. Schools with wheelchair sports programs such as the U. of Ill, U. of Texas-Arlington, Edinboro (Pa.), and others have special services for students w/dis. If the school has special living accommodations for disabled students which include PCA and nursing help, you may be able to get Medicaid to cover part of your room and board. Compare what Medicaid provides now while you are at home to what they might pay at school. Again, you will probably have to do research and make your case. Check with the Disabled Students Union, office, or club, and get information from them. Don't go to a school where you need to "reinvent the wheel" in terms of services and support. Let us know how you do.

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