I was supposed to meet my boyfriend Andrew at the airport on August 27, but a week and a half before my intended arrival in Edinburgh, I was in a very serious car accident. My sister Joy was driving her boyfriend Thomas home on the freeway when a 15-year old unlicensed driver swerved into our car, causing us to lose control of our vehicle and smash head-on into the guardrail of a bridge.
The impact of the crash caused my body weight to fracture my vertebral column, in effect breaking my back. I was told that I needed surgery and would not be able to travel. I had no idea if I would be able to go to Edinburgh.
The program administrator suggested deferring my enrollment to the following school year. I accepted this as a possibility, but was determined to get to Edinburgh before the start of classes. I looked at late matriculation and the funds and services available to students with temporary disabilities. I found out that I could apply for both Washington State Assistance and the University of Edinburgh Disabled Students’ Allowance. I emailed professors and administrators, and talked to my doctors, social workers, and physical therapist. I received full support from everyone and was told that I could head to Edinburgh not too long after my surgery.
Fortunately, my surgery was successful and I was only in the hospital for four days. I returned to my parent’s house where I slowly re-learned to walk, shower, and do almost everything on my own in a month’s time.
I am still recovering from my injury, but feeling stronger everyday. I arrived in Edinburgh two weeks ago, just in time for induction. I wasn’t expecting to arrive so late, but I’m just grateful I made it here at all. Your trip to grad school may not be smooth, but you just have to make the best of your resources and situation.