I always wanted to go to university, but I didn’t start until I was 25. I never thought I would get in, so I applied on a whim — and I got in. I didn't know what to expect, and I was really overwhelmed because I didn't know how to study or prioritize my time properly. And accessibility continues to be an issue. Because I’m half-paralyzed, I need a full charge every class to be able to take notes, and during peak times in the library, I can’t find a table with an outlet nearby.
Part of being a person with a disability is having to be an advocate. I foresaw there were going to be issues, but at the time, I didn’t raise them. There are so many people out there, like me, who don't say anything. It took me until Christmas 2018 to get a table in the library with a sign on it reserved for people with mobility aids.
At 29, I do a lot of advocating and not just for myself. But having to be an advocate has a cost. I totalled it up: The time I spend waiting for and travelling on the Disabled Adult Transit Service (DATS) and the time I spend advocating on campus is 90 hours a semester, which I could use to study and sleep.
A professor said to me, “People think you're a good student, but people don't realize you are an exceptional student — because of how much time you have to allocate away from studying just to get here.” The idea that “24 hours is 24 hours” isn’t true. If you don't have to take public transit, if you have a personal chef, if you have a nanny, you're going to have a much easier time. Those 24 hours aren’t allocated equally to each person. But what keeps me going is knowing that I can help people.
I love the idea of helping. I want to get a job helping people with disabilities who are queer and who are marginalized. I want to be part of the solution.
— Bailey Dawn, Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology/Sociology double major
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.