A few weeks ago, my ethics professor forwarded to our class an article from The Daily Tar Heel about a new student organization that promotes disabilities awareness, Advocates for Carolina. I was so incredibly happy to hear that a group had been created for students who must find alternative ways to live, and joined without hesitation.
What I love most about UNC-Chapel Hill is that there’s something for everyone — a major, an organization, an outlet for self-expression. I felt welcome since the first day I arrived at Carolina; never before had I been a part of such an accepting community. In particular, North Carolina Fellows has taught me how to be comfortable with myself. I’ve learned that sharing my story doesn’t push people away; often, doing so brings me closer to them.
But as one of those students who has lived with the “disability” label for years, I’d always felt there was one other thing missing from my college experience: a space in which to share my story and learn from others in similar situations. Advocates for Carolina has filled this void. We emphasize on accessibility, advocacy and awareness. We seek to remove stigma, educate others about disabilities and provide each other with validation. Although we may live with different circumstances, this community reminds each of us that we aren’t alone.