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The best advice from students with disabilities as they move through their higher education journey
Staying flexible, planning ahead, and taking advantage of opportunities
Laura Power has cerebral palsy and is pursuing a master’s degree in sociology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has two major pieces of advice for those students as they enter the world of higher education.
First, she said, don’t worry about making mistakes because you will find yourself laughing at them later and you can use the lessons you’ve learned to give advice to others.
Second, don’t be afraid to switch your plans if you run into obstacles. But make sure you pursue other options.
Hunter McGowan has significant hearing and vision loss. He holds a bachelor’s degree in social work from Edinboro University and is currently working on a master’s degree in counseling. He stresses the importance of planning ahead for college students with disabilities and cautions them to be prepared for changes along the way.
McGowan warns that it’s important for students to be aware that the services they received in high school won’t necessarily follow them to college.
Megan Majocha, who is Deaf, is currently working on a PhD in tumor biology at Georgetown University and working as a research fellow at a National Institutes of Health lab working on breast cancer research.
Her best advice to other students with disabilities, particularly those who are Deaf, is to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way. Most important, she said, is not to be afraid to enter the hearing world.
Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism (PINJ) exists to provide coverage of the issues that directly affect our local communities and the people who live, work and go to school in them. Our journalists strive to provide a particular focus on the inequities in our systems.