My first semester (introductory class) of grad school is over. It was exhausting and an eye opening experience. I learned so much about disability history, stigma, and rights among other topics. I read countless journal article and book chapters that taught me so much. I wrote countless discussion posts that expanded my mind.
Writing is the one area I still really struggle with. I did countless discussion posts, three essays, several writing assignments, a fieldwork report, and final research paper. My writing skills have improved. My ability to process information in regards to writing improved. The film analysis paper required me to modify my writing style. I had to create a new writing style for the data analysis paper.
The fieldwork project was my first one. I struggled to figure it out but my professor was great help. I had to do a project that involved people with disabilities in the form of interviews or a survey. My first project was the impact of life skills–life, emotional, social, physical, intellectual–on life outcomes for students with disabilities in elementary school. The project did not work out because the interviews were taking too long. I had to create a new proposal, do the project, and write the report one week before it was due. The new project was the impact of stigma on people with disabilities in relation to visibility and disclosure. I have never worked so hard, pushed myself so much for an assignment. I learned so much and grew in many ways. Despite all the trouble, the project turned out great or as the professor said, outstanding job.
The last three weeks of the semster were emotionally exausting. I was overwhelmed and struggling to cope. I was dragging myself through each day dreading the mental breakdown I knew was coming. I have a mental breakdown 3 or 4 times every year due to dealing with my disability and related stigma. Even so, I know I will overcome and come out stronger.