As promised, here is my post about getting into law school!
As you can see from the title, preparing for law school has been much easier than planning for undergrad. Obviously, once you have done something, it is easier the next time you attempt it. I have more expectations of the services I will need and what I need to plan for when I start law school.
Here’s a comparison of accommodations I am making for myself between undergrad and law school
Undergrad-I turned 18 in May before I started my freshman year, and then I was eligible to get on my state health-care plan which funds personal care attendants. I use a wheelchair full time, and because of my disability, there was no way I could take care of myself and I needed someone to help me get out of bed, get ready in the morning, help me with meals, and the list goes on. So, I had to apply with the state (which included much unnecessary and slow paperwork), find a PCA agency that would actually pay my PCAs, and hire PCAs. Unfortunately, since I was not from the cities, I had to immediately put up flyers when I started college and hire people. Then, I had to wait for the agency to perform a background check and have the state approved my hires. Currently, it takes about two months for people to get their provider number through the state, but back then it took about two weeks. I can’t imagine it taking two months now, as my mother had stay with me (we have relatives nearby where she could sleep) and help me throughout the day. Even with all my PCAs hired and approved through the state, it was an incredible transition since my family had helped me my whole life, and now I was in charge of many HR duties including training, timesheet management, and scheduling. I have no idea how I made it through freshman year.
Law school-At this time, managing PCA services is sort of second nature. I know how many PCAs I need, how to schedule them throughout the day, how to train them, and even how to fire them. Since most of my PCAs are graduating as well, I will unfortunately have to hire new staff, but since I will be at a large university, I am hoping to have many applicants. Since it does take two months for people to become approved and I am sure my mom does not want to help me at the beginning of law school, I will be putting up flyers around spring break, interviewing people, and hiring them before I graduate. Hopefully this works!
Undergrad-Since I have lived on campus all four years, this has actually been somewhat easy. Of course, I have to deal with residence life and make sure that my accommodations are met, but there has always been accessible housing available. I currently live in a swanky apartment that I will be sad to leave.
Law school-Since my law school does not provide on-campus housing for law students, I was very nervous about finding accessible housing. I don’t really know a lot about my housing rights, but I have heard that finding accessible housing is difficult. Fortunately, mostly through chance, I found an apartment building incredibly close to the law school that has an accessible apartment. Since it is so close, I will not have to deal with transportation since I can’t drive myself and I will not have to navigate snowy sidewalks. So, I signed my lease! It’s very nice to have this taken care of.
Undergrad-The disability services director at my undergraduate university is amazing! She made registering for the program incredibly easy, and has always been extremely flexible and innovative with accommodation ideas. I have never felt like there was an unequal playing field between myself and able-bodied students.
Law school-Since this is a larger university, they have a very formal program in place. I haven’t signed up with the program yet, but I’m sure that they will be able to provide all the accommodations that I need.
So, these are just a few of the differences between undergraduate and law school. I’m very thankful for my experience at undergrad, and I know that it has prepared me to experience a larger university. While I have no idea how hard the workload will be, other personal considerations will be much less stressful as I transition into another phase of my life.