An introduction to me
Hello, I am Chloe and I have just finished my third year studying English Language and Linguistics at the University of York. In this blog I want to share with you my experience of being a student with dyslexia; explaining how I felt apprehensive but have received incredible support at university. Showing you how much you can achieve alongside your studies.
Getting involved with societies
During my sixth form studies, I was diagnosed with dyslexia. Unfortunately, this led to me suffering with heightened anxiety and constantly battling with perfectionism. Choosing to come to university was a risk, as I feared that I would slip back into my unsociable routine. However, I knew that I wanted to go to university and enjoy my time there.
The friendly college system at York allowed me to join Alcuin Netball, an inclusive society welcoming all abilities. Initially, my motives behind attending were to ‘tick a box’, doing something unrelated to academia. Nevertheless, I loved being part of this society so much! So much so, I was on the committee in my second year, taking on the role as captain. There is no pressure to go to training every week or play in matches. I was able to step out of my comfort zone slowly and at my own pace.
Studying with Dyslexia
As a student with dyslexia, I was worried about the pace of lectures and managing my own workload. Particularly with the amount of reading which can be assigned alongside your degree. Although I was arguably very nervous about this, the University reached out to support me before I had even arrived. My department’s disability officer contacted me before freshers week, arranging an appointment for my first week of university. In this appointment we worked through my timetable planning, when I would work and socialise. This was a really supportive and reassuring start to my university experience. I instantly felt like I had someone to go to if I needed help.
The Disability Students Allownace (DSA)
Since I had received an official dyslexia diagnosis in sixth form, I was able to apply for disabled students finance. DSA offers a Government grant to UK students in higher education, who have a long term disability or mental health condition. The money given to me by DSA made a massive difference to my university experience. I was able to buy a printer and consequently, had all my lecture notes on paper which really suited my learning style. I bought specialist coloured glasses rather than having to use overlays – something which has been incredibly helpful especially during the COVID-19 pandemic where we have been working online.
The money received from DSA also allowed me to access a study skills tutor who I met with on a weekly basis. My study skills tutor and I worked closely together to manage my work life balance and ensure I was staying on top of all my assignments. This support I had never had during sixth form and therefore made university such a supportive place. At York my disability is taken seriously, I felt equal to my peers.
Receiving support and the future
The university not only provided me with a range of support services to help with my dyslexia but also opportunities which would help me share my experiences. For example, I am able to develop my confidence working a part time job as a Student Ambassador. In this role I get the opportunity to give something back to the community, being a role model. It is one of the most rewarding things I do. For example, I am able to share skills for creating a work life balance and dealing with dyslexia at university. I am able to inspire other students by throwing myself into university life. I have become a healthier and happier individual by managing my disability in a positive way.
In summary, my top tips for a student with dyslexia would be to embrace the exciting experience whilst also ensuring that you access support early; apply for the DSA grant and speak to your department about what support they can offer you.