We are shockingly almost done with this spring semester and I can’t believe that I have been at Marymount for almost two years! When I first came, I thought that I did not belong in college or in the outside world. I let my disability get to my head. Having a spinal cord injury has definitely limited me. My injury has left me paralyzed from the neck down. As far as I can remember, I felt like that was all I am – a paralyzed girl. Now, I no longer feel that way.

Right now I am a drama therapy and music minor and a proud member of Marymount’s a cappella group, On a Side Note. On the 19thof February, I had the opportunity to visit the dormitory at Cooper Square and perform with the members of On a Side Note. Though I did not see the whole dorm, what I saw reiterated my feelings of disability inclusivity on the Marymount campus. I am happy to announce that this Friday the 20thof April, I am performing with On a Side Note at Marymount’s Melanin Festival. The Melanin Festival is a celebration of diversity and inclusivity, and our group definitely embodies that diversity!

In my experience, I have found the MMC community to be very welcoming towards those with disabilities. By having a staff member in a wheelchair, and a student in a power chair, Marymount has had to accommodate.

I am grateful that I am at Marymount, where my disability does not define or separate me, but I do wish that more places shared Marymount’s acceptance. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for students age 25 and older, those with a disability and those without attended college in equal numbers, yet those with a disability were significantly less likely to complete college and earn a Bachelor’s degree. Why is it still that students with disabilities are less likely to finish a degree than their able-bodied peers? While it could be due to the limitations of one’s disability, I suspect that it is more the result of a lack of support, image, resources, and encouragement at many universities. For me, I have found that Marymount has encouraged and supported me in a way that will help me to beat this statistic.

I would love to see more colleges and activities adopt the disability inclusivity that Marymount has, and for Marymount to continue to expand and grow their programs and resources for students with disabilities and different abilities, even after my graduation.