Calvin provided access, support for my disability


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As we all know, college searching was not a stress-free event. We had to think about the distance, the weather and other big and small choices throughout our junior and senior years of high school. We had to make decisions. I had a few extra requirements when it came to colleges and my future education: requirements that sadly not a lot of institutions think of. If you have seen me around campus, a few things might stick out to you about what kind of person I am. For one, I’m convinced that I ride the most ridiculously awesome tricycle in all of Grand Rapids, MI. For another, I’m a big ole black bald woman, but that is not the whole picture of what makes me, me. I have a disability. Keep in mind, I didn’t say I am my disability because that could be a whole other article, but rather I have a disab ility. 

So what does this mean regarding my college search? Well for one, I have to be able to get to my classes on campus. This might seem like a “duh” moment, but you’d be surprised at how many places decided to build their colleges after the Great Wall of China or something from Grand Turismo. I have been to colleges that were solely made up of hills and stairs, that made able-bodied people want a break every other step. I couldn’t even imagine being put in that kind of environment as a disabled woman. Luckily, Calvin fit the bill when it came to the accessibility of the campus (can I get an amen for paved sidewalks!).

Not only that, but Calvin also discussed the options that I had when choosing where I lived and what classes would be the most accessible for me, which made me feel cared for. One thing that Calvin did really well, which assuage my fears about entering college life, was that they were prepared. No joke, I once went to talk with a disabilities specialist at a college who seemed to be unaware that I might need extra assistance. I had asked her if she had any good ideas to help me get across campus faster, and she said that she had never thought about it before. In regards to Calvin, they were ready with answers and solutions to every problem I presented. 

This is not to say that Calvin is perfect when it comes to helping me with my disability. I still question why there are not elevators in every building and why the special floors like Grassroots and Perkins have to be in KHV-FAR. However, I accept that Calvin is a growing, changing thing, and that some things take extra time. Sadly, there are huge chunks of our society that are still in their early stages of accepting people with disabilities and being considerate of our needs and issues.

The fact that Calvin was not only willing but eager to stand by me and support me not only as a freshman but as a person here at Calvin University has been and will continue to be monumental in my life.