Four times this semester, it was deemed too dangerous for Stony Brook students to attend classes. But for this wheelchair-bound Seawolf, it was too dangerous to attend class upwards of ten times.
Two weeks ago, for one Japanese language course, I was forced to miss an entire week’s worth of lectures due to the weather. As you could imagine, it has not been easy for me to keep up academically when I cannot even get to the Academic Mall or have to avoid leaving my dorm because a small flurry may leave me stranded far from Roosevelt Quad. My professors have been quite accommodating, allowing me to push deadlines and submit work electronically, but it only helps so much.
How is a student to succeed in a traditional university when he can not navigate that environment? My fear is that I cannot, though not for lack of trying. I ended my first semester with a 3.7; now I worry if I can keep my GPA above a 2.5. I stay up all night almost every other weekday to complete the work for my current class assignments while also playing keep up for the previous week.
To my friends, I have coined the week in which I write this story at 3 a.m. the “Week of Lovecraftian Madness.” As I juggle the likes of three mid-terms, journalism assignments and a quiz, I have also been trying to teach myself a unit of Japanese my class learned a week ago in preparation for an exam before spring break. I might as well have looked upon Lovecraft’s Cthulhu, because I feel about as mad as those who do.
Do I believe the university is responsible for the storms that have left me without energy or time to relax? No, of course not, and honestly I think the maintenance crews did a nearly-perfect job clearing the campus for every student on two legs.
For me to be able to navigate campus safely, I need sidewalks, crosswalks and most pathways clear. It is not much to ask for, yet following practically every single one of the winter storms, I came across a critical part of my commute where overcoming the snow was about as likely as a faith healer curing my cerebral palsy.
At this point, I do not foresee more snow related issues this semester, but I ask anyone who is willing to listen, ask the university to work harder next year so maybe students with disabilities can attend spring semester classes without having to go through herculean labors to cross a street.
From the Mountains of Madness, signing off.