This year, three students from Elevate, the pilot program for integrating students with
developmental and intellectual disabilities at Arapahoe Community College (ACC), will be graduating. Recently I had the chance to interview two of those students: Jazmine and Vince.
IN: What has been the hardest part about attending college with a disability?
Jazmine: The hardest part of college would be figuring out what accommodations I needed.
Vince: I would say the hardest part about attending college was class. Some of the classes were hard but the peer mentors helped support me.
IN: What advice do you have for college students with disabilities?
Jazmine: My advice would be to do whatever you are interested in career-wise and know how to get your accommodations for classes.
Vince: My advice would be to stay on top of your work and use the college resources if you need help.
IN: What have you learned about yourself while in college?
Jazmine: I have learned that I like taking care of other people. That’s why my career is Certified Nursing Assistant.
Vince: What I have learned about myself is that I like to talk with people, hang out, and be social.
IN: What has been your favorite part about attending college?
Jazmine: My favorite part about college is learning new college subjects and skills such as learning medical terminology this spring semester.
Vince: My favorite part about college is making friends with the other students and the peer mentors and joining student government.
I (Kacie) am also one of the three students who will be graduating from Elevate this spring. Here are my responses to the questions. Like Vince, I’d have to say that the hardest part of college for me was some of my classes. For me, the classes that were the hardest were the two math classes I took, and I particularly found Math for Liberal Arts to be hard. Like both Jazmine and Vince, I’d say that my advice for college students with disabilities is to go after your dreams, know how to get your accommodations, work hard, and know when to get help if you need it. I would have never passed my Math for Liberal Arts class if I hadn’t gotten help from the math support center. Like Jazmine, college has helped me learn more about what I want to do in life. I started college thinking that I wanted to go into early childhood education, but after teaching religious education to preschoolers on Sundays for two and a half years, along with taking interpersonal communication; I changed my major to communications, and I learned that fostering a love of reading is my passion. That led me to start volunteering at Columbine Library weekly and take up a work study position at the ACC campus library. Finally, like both Jazmine and Vince, my favorite parts of college have been the social part and the learning part. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the communication classes I’ve taken for my major; as well as my English classes, my psychology class, my American history class, my art history class, my Pilates class, my journalism class, and my science class. And I’ve also enjoyed making friends with the other students in Elevate; being a part of Elevate club, having lunch together, and going to the annual IN! summer social.
But if there’s one difference I have with Vince and Jazmine, it’s that I have plans to continue my education beyond ACC. I’m headed to Colorado State University to pursue my bachelor’s degree.