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Education Accessibility at Williams

            Growing up in a traditional Asian household, I was never really familiar with mental disabilities, such as depression and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), and was taught that these were essentially not valid disabilities. Therefore, the only way I learned to cope with depression or even just having trouble focusing on my work was to blame myself for it. I would always ask myself, “What’s wrong with me?” and compare myself to others who seemed to be on top of everything. It was only after I got into a car accident, with my brother in the passenger seat, and totaled my sister’s car due to my lack of caring that I realized the gravity of my mental health.

            Coming to Williams, I was afraid that my past experience with mental health would recur due to being in a competitive and high demanding environment. With that being said, I did have a terrible freshman year that not only impacted my social life and wellbeing but my grades as well. Despite taking the following summer to adjust my priorities and focus on self-care, I noticed that my grades were still suffering and did not know what else to blame it for besides myself, or my inability to do as well as others. I decided to give it another year because maybe it was just a rough year and I would be able to get better footing my junior year.

            They say that the third time’s the charm, and I think in some ways that’s true. Now that I’m well into my junior year of college, I am more familiar with myself and my habits. Thus, I knew there was a problem beyond my control when I fell into the same routine of starting the year off with high motivation and not being able to keep up with that somewhere along the way. My frustration with myself in terms of being able to stay on track manifested itself in my relationship and my general emotions throughout my daily life; I found myself being more irritable and helpless, a feeling I was all too familiar with around this time of year. After talking with some friends and my boyfriend, I decided it was time to talk to a therapist at Integrative Wellbeing Services. In addition to this, I met with the school psychiatrist, only to find out that I may have some conditions but would have to pursue further neuropsychological testing in order to find out what’s really going on. I was obviously disappointed in the outcome of the appointment because I wanted an answer sooner rather than later, especially since the neuropsychological testing would require three separate appointments.

            My next step was to look into the neuropsychological tests. I found out that these were actually very pricey (a couple thousand dollars) if not covered by insurance. I reached out to G.L. Wallace, and per our meeting, I was able to get academic accommodations for tests (i.e. time and a half for exams and reduced distraction environment) and was told that Academic Resources could cover the costs of the testing if I decided to pursue it. Although I have yet to come to a determinate answer for whatever has been causing me to feel ashamed of my academic performance, I know that I will be able to have access to the education I came to Williams for with the help of Academic Resources. I suggest anyone who is struggling academically due to reasons outside of their control to reach out to G.L. and to not have to feel like they’re not good enough for Williams.

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