Ontario Law Student, Class of 2015
I wanted to share my experience with applying for accommodations so that other students who need them will reach out for support. Due to personal circumstances and the stress that comes with law school, I began to struggle with maintaining my mental health. For a long time I tried to convince myself that what I was feeling was under my control and that attending classes and keeping up with schoolwork could be achieved with willpower alone. However, when I was unable to force myself to “get over it” and “pull myself together”, I knew it was time to get help.
It took me a year of struggling to speak with my doctor and get accommodations put in place. The biggest impediment to getting help was myself. Some part of me felt that I did not deserve it or that my problems were not severe enough to warrant support. I also felt that getting academic accommodations would make me less deserving of a spot in law school or that any good grade I achieved would not be what I deserved.
With support from family, friends, my family doctor, and a school counselor, I submitted my documentation and got approved for accommodations. Everyone who I spoke to agreed that accommodations would help me succeed and confirmed that I deserved to feel better and take care of myself. The application process itself was far less daunting than I had anticipated. There was a whole bunch of people who wanted to see me succeed.
Some of my accommodations included access to class notes and writing final exams with extra time in a separate room. I did not work any less hard than other students. If I could not make it to class, I got lecture notes. Writing an exam without others in the same room reduced my symptoms of anxiety and panic. I had a few extra minutes to calm down and collect myself just in case I felt unwell. To my surprise, I still had the same reaction to the exam as other students. If they ran out of time, so did I. If they found it straight forward, so did I. I did not feel that accommodations gave me an advantage. They allowed me to compete on par with my fellow classmates.
If you need accommodations please visit your school’s page (https://www.justbalance.ca/school) and then click on “Academic Accommodations”
For more testimonials visit: https://www.justbalance.ca/testimonials