My Journey as a Mature, Disabled Student

Our Student Ambassador Vimesh joined Arden as a mature student living with a physical disability. Hear his journey as an online learning student and how he received the resources he needed to be successful on his master’s course! 

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I am a disabled person, and being physically limited is always a challenge. Even though we live in a diverse world, an able-bodied individual almost always wins the battle of securing a job against a disabled individual. With this in mind I had to make myself stand out from the competition. Therefore, I decided to undertake a Master’s degree in IT Security Management, a hot topic with so many high profile data breaches recently and with Brexit around the corner.

Thinking of returning to study as a mature student is daunting even in the best situations. Returning as a disabled student with physical disabilities was a real minefield. So many questions came to mind: Will I be able to concentrate whilst in pain? Will my medication make me too drowsy to do any work? How will I manage to sit at a desk for long periods of time with my back problems? And the most worrying question: How will I be able to travel to university?

This list was on top of the many normal questions that a mature student might have, such as, am I too old to study? How will I fund my studies? Will people find it strange that I am studying later on in my life? Will I cope with the workload? Will I have time to study, continue with my job and have personal and family time? And the ultimate question: Will I succeed?

Starting the study journey

Then, I came across Arden University. They offered the course I wanted to study and I could study via online learning, meaning I did not need to travel to campus. Arden University was not the only university I found a suitable online learning course with, however, they made the whole application process so simple and were so helpful that I decided to study with them. 

I contacted the university to enrol and was assigned a dedicated enrolment officer to help me with my application. As part of the enrolment process I was asked about any disabilities that I might have. I was put at ease straight away and was reassured that my disabilities would not get in the way of my studies. 

Specialised support

I was guided by the enrolment officer, who was so helpful and registered me as a disabled person. They also introduced me to Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). The DSA assessed my needs and gave me study resources such as an electric adjustable desk, an ergonomic chair and footstool, money towards a computer of my choice, a special keyboard, reading and writing software as well as other peripheral equipment and much more support. 

Suddenly, I did not feel so limited or worried and I had all the tools I needed to succeed in my studies. I knew nothing of DSA beforehand, but Arden University supported me and guided me to ensure I could access it.

During my studies I have had difficult times when I have been in too much pain to study. Arden’s Student Support have been so helpful, and they have a dedicated team that caters to those with special needs.

As part of my support I am given extra time to complete assignments when needed, and staff email me to check on my wellbeing. I have also made my tutors aware of my disabilities and they have been very helpful and understanding, responding to queries and providing feedback extra quickly.
My experience at Arden University has been wonderful, and I would say to anyone able bodied or disabled that you can study successfully with Arden University. They offer a great range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses that are topical. Arden is a modern university with traditional values.