Hi, I’m Morgan (they/them), and I’m in my first year of studying English. I wanted to write about my experiences as a disabled person at York, and share some practical information that will hopefully answer some questions you might have. There’s a lot to say, so I’ve just covered a few areas I‘d have liked to know more about before I arrived.
Disability Services is the place to go for getting academic accommodations, and getting a Student Support Plan (SSP). which helps your tutors understand how to support you. The accommodations I’ve found most helpful have been exam deferrals (being able to sit an exam again as if for the first time if you have a flare-up) and coursework extensions if you need them, without having to re-confirm your condition. The SSP also isn’t shared any further than your tutors without your consent, and I really like being able to disclose my disability out of choice.
I would really recommend getting in touch with them before you arrive, as it helped me feel like I was supported if anything went wrong from the start. It was a massive reassurance given the amount of uncertainty moving to university can create for anyone. But if your condition changes or your current support isn’t right, then you can get in touch with Disability Services at any time.
The majority of campus (especially Campus East) is accessible by lift, but a few parts of the older colleges on Campus West are not. If I’ve had a seminar timetabled in a room or had to meet someone in an office that’s difficult for me to access, it’s been simple to get it changed and people are happy to meet you in a place that’s better for you. Often it’s easiest to speak to your tutor or the person you’re meeting with, or you can ask college or disability support to speak on your behalf if you don’t feel comfortable.
There are the 66 and 67 buses that run for free between the two campuses, later stopping in the city, and there is also the 68 service which runs between Campus East and Halifax College. The buses have spaces for wheelchairs and reserved seats for people with mobility issues. The bus stops are fairly close together and usually have seating too.
There are also different bus services which can take you to the nearest pharmacies, in Fulford and Badger Hill (near Campus East), if the distance makes it difficult for you to get medication.
When I moved to York, I initially lived in Halifax College, but the walk to my lectures and seminars was worsening my chronic pain. The college support team were a really helpful and knowledgeable first point of contact. They helped me navigate the wider accommodation system so that I was able to live closer to campus. I was able to move into another ground-floor room, and I am continuing on campus next year. There are limited spaces for this, but, because it will help me manage my mobility issues, I was able to get priority access.
I have a few places where I tend to go when I need to control my environment because of sensory issues. I’m a big fan of libraries as an English lit student, so there’ll be a lot of places that I haven’t been which are similar environments. These are all accessible too.
- The Morrell Library – all of the floors of the Morrell are either ‘quiet’ or ‘silent’ floors. It has accessible study rooms, too.
- The stream by Derwent College – peaceful, and gorgeous in autumn, Good to read among the ducks.
- York Explore library – this is the city library, and there are study and research rooms upstairs. They make me feel very academic.
- Wentworth art studio – The on-campus art studio. It’s a paid membership (£15 a term or £40 for the year) but I love it there a lot.
Those are a few things that I think I would have liked to know specifically about York before I arrived. I also have a general disabled student self-catering tip, too:
I really enjoy cooking, but I can’t always stand well enough to cook, so I tend to make extra when I cook certain things and freeze portions. Meatball and tomato soup is one of my favourite things to freeze. It’s very filling and tastes good frozen or made fresh!
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