As ambitious as every blind person is, going to college has more negatives than positives, and I’ve been told to make unnecessary sacrifices for this purpose. Leaving HUD housing, possibly having to leave Trenton behind, live on campus, and deal with tech that only gives kickbacks to rich folks. Freedom Scientific’s Jaws for Windows, for instance, is supposedly the best screen reader that works with current Blackboard software. Trenton glanced at this, and unfortunately, I’m not one to give Freedom any more kickbacks because JAWS though innovative is too expensive and if Rehab foots the bill, kickbacks happen. I don’t want anyone getting a kickback off my college degree, and until universal access to things with screen readers other than JAWS is promoted, I will not be going to college.
HEre are the pros of going to college. ANd they’re too general.
- You get certified in a degree, and if you graduate with honors, great. And you can get a job in your field.
- You get paid more.
- Getting a house or better rental would be in the horizon, no matter how much, because at least I’m not paying car insurance.
- The field I want to do, social work, doesn’t just take babies away. I was hoping to get a degree in social work and specialize in elder and disabled case management so I could help elderly and disabled people get out of situations where their children or family could manipulate or take advantage of their funds, lives, and health. I would probably not recommend nursing facilities unless there is no family, or the elder cannot take care of themselves compounded by aggression such as that what happens to a friend’s father.
- I could write a book about my experiences.
- I could impact the world.
But here, my friends, is a listing of six cons of going to college.
- Rehab won’t support because of possibly an outdated file from a psychologist who is ethnocentric to European AMericans, bearing in mind he thought I was Arab just for wearing a stupid veil. And he made brazen comments about me because of it. HE should be reeducated about Islam, and not make such brazen statements about Arab women. The subject matter of his talks are inappropriate at best.
- Having to use jAWS as mentioned before. Chromevox is a universally accessible thing in a Chromebook, but JAWS is a third party screen reading software that costs too much and takes up too much room in a Windows pc. Why Windows? I hate to say it, but Windows eats up a lot of space in a computer by itself, plus JAWS could mean other things and problems. Forget the free Microsoft Office 365 for the college, I’d have to use Windows in a pc with a third party screen reader instead of its own Narrator, which is universally available. Firefox is also becoming less accessible.
- Lecture halls suck. And professors who don’t accommodate suck as well.
- Taking a test with a human reader could lend itself to bias.
- Having to live on campus simply for academic access or success is awful. In my experience, it costs more than $18,000 to house a student in a dorm, and then what? The dorm could contain drunks, students coming in and peeing on your tile flooring, “That’s not the toilet.” Funny phrase, but so needed when dealing with that. Then there’s the chance of rape on campus if invited and cajoled to attend parties. I won’t have it.
- No cooking and even worse loss of other blindness skills along the way. As much as my friends think it best to sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice, it doesn’t work for blind individuals who don’t have blindness training, those who do but need to be allowed to cook in their own appliances, or those who would rather fix a crock pot meal instead of going to a dining hall, where lines are long and people don’t take me seriously. I hate cafeterias, buffets, and worst of all, the college dining hall experience. There are times I’ve been at the college in Tallahassee, FLorida State University, and their dining hall staff was short, and I had to rely on students just to get food in my stomach!!!!! Do you really think dining halls are appropriate too? Sometimes the a la carte selections aren’t right at all.
I might add that the Auraria campus does not have dorms, student housing, to my knowledge a dining hall, etc. They share three colleges: UCD, MSU, and CCD all in one campus. The Auraria campus is also a light rail or short bus ride away from my apartment. However, I might add that I would have to be a lot closer this time, but I want my own place so that I can cook and survive while doing classes. Part time college is the only way for me, but even that is unacceptable. I had a debt to pay with Metro State University and can’t pay it because of the exorbitant costs and the SSI and worse, debt collectors have called me about it. I’ve sassed at them because really, debt collection agencies contain bad people who have the potential to threaten lives and wives, and I have no money to waste on these stupid debt collectors. Thankfully, I appealed, but I was in a mental health crisis at the time and did not receive support from Rehab and any other agencies at all. Support always seems to make the difference, but I don’t want strings attached. I want to go to college, use what I have to get through college, and get a degree in something that would allow me to reverse the effects of probate abuse, etc. What to do! ANd why bother with JAWS training because I use a total of three screen readers. Voiceview on Amazon tablets, and then there’s Voiceover on Macs and iPhones, and then there’s CHromevox, with which I type this blog. Why deal with VFO and kickbacks and enriching folks who do corporate work only and don’t price JAWS for the average Joe blind person who can’t make enough to keep the JAWS license going. JAWS licenses are expensive.
Books. I know you guys want me to have books, but I won’t buy it. College textbooks need to be in an accessible PDF format and thankfully, CHromevox can read this stuff, but then … figures and diagrams. Oh no.
Really, I’d like to see colleges do a few things differently:
- Use only accessible education platforms, ones that allow universal screen reading software like Chromevox or Voiceover to access their stuff.
- Accommodate whatever the perwson has, and allow that person to have what they want in accommodations including universal screen reading design in their computers.
- Allow the use of laptops that don’t have JAWS.
- Allow a blind person to take a test on a computer, not with a human who may get sick and not make it.
- Allow blind people to cook in their own places. Rehab should support home living situations, especially those including wives and children, or husbands and children and let them do online classes so that they can also tend to household duties. Such things as a sick kid, a husband who wants a date night, or family outings or family time can interfere with traditional college tracks.
- Don’t require a blind college student to be in classes with huge lecture halls if possible. Lecture halls don’t accommodate. Small class size benefits not only blind college students, but sighted students who want more engagement in class.
- Serve better food in dining halls, or better yet, accommodate those with food allergies. Don’t push eggs or nuts on someone allergic to eggs or nuts.
- Don’t force blind people to pay for unaccommodated classes, or in times of civil rights violations.
- Be consumer driven. Since consumers pay lots of big bucks for university degrees, let them choose their future.
- Allow guide dogs in all classrooms, lecturing halls, and other places where classes and dining and things are done. I’ve seen great examples of this in Tallahassee. A young lady brought a beautiful German shepherd to class and was guided by this beautiful creature. Sada was a sweet and gentle natured dog, friendly I might add, but did as her mistress said. All guide dogs should be allowed given the rampant denials I’ve mentioned in a prior post. Thank you all for reading.