As we celebrate Disability Awareness Week here at Texas Tech, we found it only fitting to offer our students the opportunity to voice their personal thoughts, experiences and opinions to shed some light on disabilities. This activity led to raw conversations, insightful discoveries, and true connections. We hope you find these words as powerful and encouraging as we do.
What does it mean to have a disability?
“Knowing how smart you really are and having the inability to show it.”
“You’re obviously different from everyone else, but that is what makes us all human.”
“It means that ‘work’ isn’t easy, that ‘effort’ has a whole new meaning, that ‘accomplishment’ doesn’t mean finished, but instead, conquered.”
How has your disability altered your college experience?
“Having LOAs gives me the best advantage to do well. What I thought was a negative thing (having a disability) turned out to be a really great thing.”
“Sometimes information is harder to grasp compared to students that understand it right away. It can also make concepts seem a lot harder than they really are. Not everyone understands what I go through some days.”
“In a way, my learning disability has made college overwhelming and stressful. With nursing as a major, classes are already extremely difficult (especially when striving to get A’s). With a learning disability involved, I feel like no matter how hard you try, getting a B is like receiving an A, so you should feel accomplished, however, when applying for nursing, they are going to notice the B instead of taking into account any learning disabilities.”
What have you learned as a result of having a disability?
“That I have to actually take the medicine I am prescribed to fully absorb the knowledge from my classes. Also, the study habits that work for most people don’t always work for me.”
“I have learned to work harder and not to give up when something is really hard.”
“I learned how to overcome my disability by not comparing myself to other students. I have learned how to embrace who I am.”
What is one thing you wish others knew about you?
“I wish that disabilities, like dyslexia, were better understood by those who are not affected by them.”
“It takes me much longer to grasp concepts and learn things.”
“I see ADD as a blessing.”
“Just because I have a learning disability doesn’t mean I won’t be just as successful as the student who naturally understands and learns at a quicker pace. Being a slow learner is quite beneficial because I am more attentive to details, and in the long run that pays off! Slow and steady wins the race!”
“Many times people think having a learning difference affects the person’s everyday tasks, but personally, I have learned coping skills and it really doesn’t affect me.”
“I am more than a diagnosis. I am more than a statistic. I can do anything I set my mind to… it might just take a little longer and may be a lot harder – but if it can be done, I will do it.”
“It takes me a while to organize my thoughts and sentences.”
In addition to having a disability, you have a lot of strengths. What are your strengths?
“Memorization. It is a really good way to cope with dyslexia. It takes me so long to read things, but I’m able to recall every little thing I read.”
“Organization, good people skills, being a hard-worker and self-advocate.”
“I am a leader and a thorough and diligent worker. I am a problem solver. I’m always the friend that can answer any question.”
“I am highly organized.”
What does the TECHniques Center (and Student Disability Services) mean to you? How have we changed your college experience?
“It means another chance at being successful in college. It’s a support system that gives me the confidence to keep pushing on. I now look at my college experience as something that changed my life for the better, an experience that made my dream possible.” – Garrett Lack
“The TECHniques Center feels like a sanctuary because everyone is here to help you.”
“They mean a lot to me. You could say they are like my family away from home. They have been there for me through all the hard times I have had. They support me and always have my back so it has lead me to be more relaxed at college.”
“If not for the TECHniques Center, I wouldn’t have been such a high achiever and I would be struggling in class.”
Anything else you would like to share about living as a college student with a disability?
“Everybody thinks they have ADHD and try to relate to me, but it’s hard to understand if you don’t actually have the diagnosis.”
“People do not realize who we are because we look and act like every other college student on this campus. So, when I inform you that it takes me longer to understand a concept, don’t treat me any different than the way you did before you knew I had a disability.”
“It is not an excuse – it’s not a way to get sympathy and it’s not a way to get through classes in an easier manner. It’s real – but we’re just the same, we just have to work twice as hard, but we can accomplish anything.”