I like talking to people on social media. Recently I came across a nice young person who is heading off to grad school. Yay! Good for you. I made a semi-off-handed comment about “Are you pursuing services?” and I was asked what I was talking about.

I brought it up because this is a person of color heading to a school in an extremely white state. I’m *sure* support exists.

This person expressed surprise. There are services? What kind of services? What kind of support exists? How can I get help?

We are exchanging emails now. I feel like a Grade A Asshole, but one of the first things I suggested was reaching out to the Black Student Union and asking them about the culture on campus. Then you can talk to a local doctor in your home state, get an official on-the-record diagnosis (of problems you have already had for decades–this isn’t about making shit up, this is about a paper trail) and get support.

This person was shocked. They had never considered reaching out for that kind of support.

I didn’t know this support existed when I went to grad school. If I knew then what I know now… I would never have had to take a hand written test. I could have typed the final exam and I would have a masters degree. With my history there is *no excuse* for a school withholding a degree because I can’t hand write. My future work will not depend on my ability to hand write.

I feel weird suggesting resources that are *not for me*. It feels.. inappropriate. And yet!

I want more people of color to succeed in college and join the well-paid labor market. Resources help that happen. It doesn’t take a lot of time out of my day to reach out on social media to strangers who mention that stuff is going on for them. I don’t spend an hour a day. And countless people have told me that I show up on the exact right day to tell them something useful.

I really appreciate social media.

2 thoughts on “Resources

  1. WendP

    I don’t know about “suggesting resources that are *not for me*”, but being able to share things you learned so someone else can take advantage of that knowledge? Awesome! The only “disability” I ever felt I had to make accommodations for in college or grad school was making sure I had a left-handed desk when it came time for lots of handwriting. Now I’m wishing I’d done more typing than hand-writing, but I didn’t make all the connections or get out of denial about it till too far down the road. However, when I talk with people about going to college, if I know if any services I think they’ll benefit from, whether I needed them or could have benefited from myself, I make sure to tell them. Some of those benefits weren’t in place when I was in college (back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth), and some have gotten much better – or worse – since back then. Sometimes going to college or grad school is so overwhelming already, it just doesn’t occur to ask questions like how to hook up with student unions of color or culture, or to ensure paper trails of one nature or another, or how to find appropriate housing or roommates. It’s awesome that your person has someone like you to help think of the questions, never mind be able to help find some of the answers.

  2. Michelle

    I am so glad you did that. It angers me so much that I have no grad degree because my department wouldnt make accommodations and didnt offer an MA.

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