Online College Was My Only SAFE Choice
To the online school who gave me a chance,
I honestly never thought that I would graduate in the first place. Especially after everything that happened while I was enrolled in private college when I didn’t get some of my necessary accommodations. They were always put onto paper, but no, relying on other people isn’t always the best way to get the things that you want, and for a long time everyone told me that somehow being an online student would take away my independence. But I really think that being online, at least for me, was the best choice. It gave me more control over my modifications. For example, the notes were always posted in the announcements or in the modules, whereas when I was getting my modifications through a privet school, another student who was asked to look out for me would sometimes forget about me or I would always be a little bit behind. This was really hard in certain classes like math and science classes that I’ve never performed particularly well in.
Another really awesome thing about the online school is that I got to go to the campus for graduation and I was treated very well by a very attentive disability staff who helped me and some other people who needed special accommodations to ensure their safety; it was the most fulfilling experience. I was greeted with a hug by my disability representative, who knew my name simply by seeing my face. There were over a thousand people in attendance, which made me feel so reassured. I have been having some issues with my shoulder and I was actually able to be escorted up the ramp to receive my diploma.
I got to see my advisor, who was an essential part of helping me get my education. She was, of course, there for moral support, but she was also there to make sure that everything else was running smoothly and that the disabilities department made sure I had everything I needed and that my professors were accommodating me. At one point, I had a medical situation come up and she made sure that the professors were aware and gave me extra attention and extra time that I needed as a result.
Quite frankly, with the news of all the school shootings, I think all the stairs and scattered mess added to the danger for a disabled student in a private college.
Getting my diploma is one of the most important elements in my life. People kind of scoffed at me and said things like, “well, what if you ever have kids?” and “what if you ever buy a house?”
My response was: this is the open door to all of that, and getting my diploma gets me from working menial jobs in the summer where I get beer spilled on me constantly.
Do something that matters. At one of my internships, I have gone viral with writing about disability rights and issues with access to medications. I also found something I really love to do, I got to be part of the advertising team and do some of the social media for a company called Coffee House Writers, which is owned and operated by friends of mine, who have blessed me with the opportunity to be part of their team.
I also took another internship with a company called Geekisphere. I’m hoping to actually get a job in the media.
Once I display my internships I hope to find a decent job, be able to travel, and spread the word about disability rights as well as access to education and health. I’m also considering advocating for fostering disabled children, who need a positive role model who has been through the things that they’ve been through and can be a good example.
Thank you for everything you did for me,
Keely Christine Messino