Being Handicapped on Campus
I’ve had the unfortunate opportunity of being on crutches for about a month because of multiple stress fractures in my foot (caused by chronic running, of course). And I’d like to share with you guys my experiences, because these things I’ve experienced might be appealing to some of you, mostly those of you who are either very prone to serious injury, or are legally handicapped. I’ll walk you, briefly, through my experience:
1. Injury occurred.
2. Doctors were seen; Then MRIs were taken at the Stony Brook Hospital. It was very straightforward, easy to make an appointment at the hospital, and an overall good experience (but really, who can say getting injured is a good experience?)
3. Diagnosis; made an appointment and was officially put in a boot and on crutches. Friends were useful in driving me around to my doctors appointments! (I do have my own car, but note, this injury is on my driving foot so I didn’t want to risk making it worse by driving myself!)
4. Went to the Disability Services Office, to get a handicapped parking permit. I needed to show them the doctor’s note and tell them my license plate number, then they made a handy-dandy temporary permit that lasts for 4 weeks.
5. Parking in certain areas on campus (such as near the SAC or the Library) can be difficult because the handicapped spots are almost all being used. But if you get there early enough before your class time, there will probably be an open spot (from my experiences). I am primarily parking at the Life Sciences Building Lot, which is very close to all of my classes, and I always find spots there. So yes, there are enough handicapped parking spots.
6) One thing I found interesting, and somewhat ironic, was that if all the handicapped spots are taken in a parking lot, and you park in a non-handicapped spot that is for faculty/staff/a zone you don’t have a specific permit for (see parking website), you CAN be ticketed. My friend and I were rather discombobulated by this rule so we looked it up online and found that it does follow NY state law, so it’s not like SBU made this rule up. It’s important to know that Stony Brook Parking Enforcement is very diligent and is always ready to ticket and/or tow a car that is parked in a handicapped spot illegally.
7) If you don’t have a car, the Disability Services Office offers a transportation service that can take you from your dorm, to your class building, to another class building, and back to your dorm, according to a schedule you submit to them. This service is separate from the SB Transit buses because these run only for students with disabilities. This would be really useful if I were in a wheel chair, or incapable of driving with my injured foot.
8) There is a student club called Students Taking Aim at Challenges, which is specifically for students with disabilities to join together, advocate for their needs, and potentially change campus policies!
9) Going around campus: Crutching around campus is actually quite a workout. I try my hardest to minimize excessive crutching around campus. This is a big campus. It was hard the first week, but it’s gotten much easier. Students are generally courteous and hold doors for you, offer to press elevator buttons for you, and if you have to take the stairs because of a broken elevator, some will offer to help you up or down the stairs. People are nice! Professors too. They are very understanding if you have to come to class late every day because your other class was somewhat far. (it takes me about 12 minutes to go from one building to another on crutches, whereas it used to take only 7 minutes–the time in between two classes is typically 10 minutes).
In conclusion, I think being on crutches really hasn’t been that bad. The only thing I’ve really “hated” is that I haven’t gone to the gym in almost a month, because well, I can’t really do many exercises with a boot on… But in one week and about 10 hours, I will be back in the gym. and I can’t wait to get back into my routine.
I hope this helps at least one of you guys reading this,
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