Tackling the College Process

Madeline Uretsky Madeline Uretsky

heads2My educational process has been accomplished in baby steps over the past three years. After suffering my injury, I started by missing three straight months of school during my sophomore year, then attending school for two hours daily while being tutored in one class at a time. My next step was to make up three missed classes over the summer before my junior year, and then finally attending school full time for my junior and senior years, graduating on time, and getting ready to attend college this fall. At the beginning of my recovery process, there was no hope of me ever returning to school, so having graduated and looking forward to college is something that I am really proud of; I worked incredibly hard to accomplish this. I have always wanted to be a doctor, and I became interested in the brain after suffering my concussion, leading me to study neuroscience in college. My dream is to have a multi-disciplinary pediatric concussion clinic.

With this major in mind, I started looking at colleges during my junior year. I knew that I would have to attend a school close to home because of my ongoing doctors appointments, and in case I needed to come home for a night if I was not feeling well. So, we put an hour driving limit for any schools that I applied to. The second requirement was having the neuroscience major, which is a fairly new major to many schools, but we managed to find six schools within the driving limit. My third requirement was that it had to be a small school. For someone with a brain injury, sitting in a lecture hall with five hundred students is not ideal. Also, having to walk far to class every day is also difficult, especially if it is a bad day symptom-wise. So, I knew that I physically could not handle a big school.

When my family and I went on tours of these schools, we also were looking for different requirements than the average student would consider. I had to pay attention to the amount of windows and sunlight, the patterned carpets, paint colors, walk to classes, and overall noise in the dorms, and on the campus itself. With what I want to do, and my major, I also wanted to be in Boston if possible. So, when I saw Simmons College, I knew that was the right choice for me.

In terms of the dorm room, I have requested to be on a first floor, away from the elevator/stairs, if possible. This is to eliminate the hallway noise, and the climbing of stairs/use of an elevator in case of a bad symptom day. I have also started shopping for my dorm room, and like searching for the perfect school, searching for things for my dorm is a process. I cannot have a busy patterned comforter or rug, nor can my roommate. I also cannot have too many colors, or bright colors in the room. There also cannot be too many items out of place, disorganized, or messy because of my problems with visual stimulation. I also have to be in a double, and not a triple, to eliminate the commotion of multiple people in the room. There cannot be any flashing lights, loud music, items or shelves over my head while I am in my bed, and I will need curtains for the window to block out the sunlight. These requirements may seem strange, but they are going to make my living arrangements at school more comfortable and manageable for my symptoms, which will help me to complete my schoolwork.

Living away from home for the first time since suffering my brain injury will be difficult, as I will be completely on my own, but I am ready for the challenge! To get ready for my new and exciting life, I am spending this summer going to doctors’ appointments, reading, and shopping for school. I am really looking forward to attending Simmons in the fall!

 

 

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3 responses to “Tackling the College Process

  1. Robin kesslen says:

    So proud of you Madeline. I know you are destined to do great things and college is just the beginning! Love you….

  2. Kim Silverman says:

    Congratulations on your graduation! I enjoy reading your updates in your blog. You are a wonderful writer. Wishing you lots of success in your future endeavors!

  3. Tanya says:

    You are an inspiration…cheering for your college success!

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