The Real World Bites
But if I can survive it, so can you.
Despite numerous scrapes, bruises, and sprains over the years, at nineteen, I had yet to experience a broken bone. That is, not until this fall semester. Within a month of sophomore year, I had succumbed to my undeniable clumsiness TWICE, breaking both my arm and foot.
First was the arm. My right arm to be exact. The dominant arm that I write papers with, take notes with, eat food with, brush my teeth with, etc. Once the initial shock and strange excitement wore off, I began to realize what this injury would mean for me. At the emergency room, I could barely write my initials for a signature, let alone fill out the paperwork. How was I supposed to complete schoolwork for the next “4 to 6 weeks?”
After several failed attempts to teach myself how to write left-handed, I accepted the facts; I would need special accommodations to survive the semester ahead. My first thought was to use my computer to compensate for my arm deficiency. However, the strain to raise my bulky cast in the air so my fingers could physically reach the keyboard proved I would need a better solution.
The next day I made an appointment with Student Disability Services, securing myself a peer note-taker and writing assistance for exams. With this arrangement, every few days I received emails consisting of notes taken during class discussions. These documents served as helpful study guides for upcoming tests and quizzes. I especially liked the fact that they were typed neatly and a bit more organized than I normally do. On top of these offerings, my teachers were also very accommodating. I received online versions of exams to be completed under their supervision as well as additional time to finish writing assignments.
Just when everything seemed to be looking up, I broke my left foot.. Please, hold your applause.
With a cast on my right arm and a boot on my left foot, I both looked and felt like a bad joke. Now, I would not only face my ongoing struggles but I would also be challenged to physically get to class.
As you can imagine, I approached the next “4 to 6 weeks” with EXTREME caution. What else could I possibly break and still attend classes? Despite my escalating stress-level, I survived by making a systematic schedule that allowed time to get to class, complete my homework, review notes, etc. In doing so, I was able to manage my time wisely and efficiently.
Without a doubt, having my first two substantial injuries away from home was very difficult. I was definitely challenged to balance organizing my medical appointments and maintain my academic standing. However, as inconvenient and testing as this process was, it really gave me the opportunity to grow as an adult. And while I hope to never face an experience like this again, it’s reassuring to know that I can take care of myself in spite of life’s many curveballs.
Wish me luck for next semester!
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