As the Representative for disabled Students at Frankfurt School, I asked the Alumni with disabilities in my previous blog article to talk about their studies and the highlights and difficulties they encountered during that time. Most Frankfurt School students aren’t aware that there are various students with different disabilities or chronic illnesses who work really hard to successfully complete their studies or who need special support, patience and understanding from their fellow students. To get an idea of what it is like to study with a disability, I am proud to publish the first blog article I conducted with one of our Alumnus with a disability.
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My studies at Frankfurt School
I studied a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. For me it was important that my university of choice offers a good study environment. When visiting the FS on one of the open days and speaking to the FS faculty members about my concerns regarding my disability, I was convinced I would receive the best support to manage my studies successfully.
The studies at FS were very practice-oriented. It was a rewarding experience and I will never forget the awesome time during my semester abroad in Australia! There were however some difficulties because of my disability too. The most challenging one I faced was during the exam period. Due to my disability, I or I got the feeling that the announcements were not given in a clear way. More specifically, sometimes I felt nervous and unconcentrated, but it was always possible to ask for support.
I was managing my studies mostly on my own. In the case that I did not fully understand something because of my disability, I could always reach out to professors, either directly in the lectures or after these, and have things explained face to face again. Some lecturers were very supportive and explained things all over again, whereas others gave me the feeling that they didn’t understand my disability and respective limitations, even if I tried explaining these to them. If Mrs. Nimmerrichter had been there to make the lecturers aware, I believe this would have made the communication more hassle-free. Unfortunately however, there was no disability officer at the FS back then.
With some fellow students, I was able to work together well. But there is still a strong need for the student community to be aware of those studying with a disability. I believe my fellow students were not really aware of the extent to which the disability was impacting my studies or how they should interact with me.
When I finally held the Bachelor certificate in my hands, it was an overwhelming feeling. It was the reward for years of hard work, difficult times and challenging situations. It made me realise, that even with a disability you are still able to earn a good degree, you must just not give up and always continue working hard. It will definitely pay off one day!
My recommendation for future students
The most important recommendation I can give to students, is to go talking to your disability officer as early on as possible, at the latest when you start with your studies. Make sure the disability officer is fully aware of your situation and needs. Every disability is different and so are the ways to deal with it, hence it is so important to talk to a person of special trust. Only this way will the disability officer be able to help by making adjustments, reaching out to lecturers as well as other people and becoming a trusted advisor throughout the whole of your studies.
You might also be interested in: Responsibilities of the representative for disabled students at Frankfurt School