I’m in love with my school. No question about it, I love UBC (The university of British Columbia, Vancouver campus) so much. I realized this recently on a trip back to campus for the afternoon. I went briefly, chiefly to meet with an accessibility advisor to review my plans for next year.
I’ve had quite a doozy trying to figure out what my plans for next year will be. I have many options, a spectrum of choices that is a continuum of obligations and stressors. My choices vary from not going to school at all, to going back full-time and living in Vancouver, or any interpretation and combination of these that can be thought of. Things are, however, beginning to sort themselves out, but several challenges are coming to fruition while I explore my options:
- Pippa is my number one obstacle. She will not have her service dog certification by the fall, and therefore will not be permitted to enter classrooms, restaurants or the public transit system (uncaged). This puts a huge burden on my class schedule, if I have difficulty being away from Pippa for extended periods of time, how am I supposed to attend my classes without her? Another logistical matter of this is that Pippa likely will make finding housing more difficult, as I have to find a pro-pets housing situation. The third point that Pippa brings to the table is transportation. I cannot bring her loose on the bus, and this therefore hampers my accessibility to public transit.
- Courseload. Last semester, I managed only to complete 2 courses, a total of 7 credits for that semester. I don’t think that I could realistically and sanely handle a semester that demanding again. I have organized with access and diversity to be able to have a “reduced courseload”, and still be able to keep my scholarship. But since I am unsure as to what the fall holds in store for me, I have no idea which courses to register for. So, I registered for tons, in the hopes that once I had figured out which “fall option” worked the best for me, that at least two of the classes would work for me.
- My finances are in absolute shambles. It’s a bonefied disaster actually. And this isn’t simply a “I’m a poor student”, this is an “I may need to use the food bank or starve next fall” kind of situation. Since I am not taking a full courseload, I don’t qualify for any student loans. I have a scholarship which covers my tuition. To pay for books and rent, I have some money in my parents RESP fund. But covering my daily living expenses was supposed to be my savings from the summer, and if now I’m not working, I will have an approximated zero earnings over the summer.
However, I am a resilient (okay, occasionally resilient….) problem solver. I brought my problems to the attention of accessibility advisors at access and diversity, and pleaded, asking for advice to help me overcome my obstacles. They retaliated with a proposed solution: live on campus.
Now, this seems pretty much unrelated to all of the above mentioned problems. Pippa couldn’t stay with me, since campus housing doesn’t allow for pets. It doesn’t solve money issues, except for being slightly under budget for rent, maybe squeezing out a couple more dollars for me to spend. But, just listen, and bear with me.
Access and diversity have come to an agreement with the school regarding accommodations for emotional support animals in UBC campus residences. They are allowed to live with their owners, providing they are well-behaved etc. and are registered with access and diversity. This is an amazingly major breakthrough. With this simple little accommodation, my problems are mostly a non-issue now, and here’s why.
Pippa could stay in my room while I leave for classes. I could walk to my class and walk back (solving the Pippa housing/transportation issue) to be with Pippa outside of class times. It wouldn’t matter if I were to take only 2 classes, because I’d be so close to campus that I could walk there in a matter of minutes, very efficient I’d say (solving the issue of courseload concerns).
Of course, this doesn’t solve all my problems – notably the financial strain is still very much present. It is, however, a great deal closer to a suitable arrangement for the fall: one I can be confident in and ready to take on the world with.
One proposed solution for the money issue, is to take a 40% courseload, which would be 7 credits a semester. This is more than I had planned originally, but I also think that I could handle taking three courses if I was so inclined. And boy, the money is driving my inclination, that’s for sure.
So, I finish up this post in a wise mind state, and with much more direction in my life than I had previously.