After reading Ujeza Adami’s article about struggling with a
concussion at Minerva, an anonymous student came forward
to share how the lack of substantive in-class disability
accommodation impacted their struggle.

sit down for class
it will be ok
            sips water
20 minutes pass
            ba-dum, ba-dum
are they going to call on me
            inhale, exhale
            ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum
maybe i’ll speak here
            stomach swirls
            ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum
i’ll ask a question
            inhale, exhale
            ba-dum, ba-dum
or maybe not
            inhale, exhale
            ba-dum, ba-dum
now I have to speak
            body tenses
            mind panics
what am I gonna say
            ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum
is class over yet

professors still don’t understand my anxiety

i wonder what the students think

shut the laptop
            tap the light switch
fall into bed
            inhale, exhale
            ba-dum, ba-dum
and disconnect
            body consoles
            mind vibrates
            sadness holds

            because i studied
            i did the pre-class work
            i ate
            i slept
            i exercised
            i showered
            i socialized
            i went to CAPS.

            because my professors say
            do the study guide more thoroughly
            it’s a tough class
            try doing the readings differently
            spaced practice is good
            don’t feel pressured to speak immediately
            visit office hours
            the teacher’s assistant is there to help
            ask friends for note-taking tips
            your grades are not bad
            i cold call everyone and i have to cold call you.

            because my peers say
            take medicine
            you’re overanalyzing
            just meditate
            it’s not a big deal
            try yoga
            it’s in your head
            you need a drink
            you’re sensitive
            i get like that too
            it happened so long ago
            calm down.

            in sorrow
            do you listen
            do you care
            do you think of me
            do i have good friends
            does anyone else feel this way
            are professors really supporting me
            do you recognize how unhealthy forum can be for students/classmates like me
            is anyone going to take action
            how will this end?

            i’ll think about what happened in class today
            the day after
            the following monday
            the first week of april
            june 4th
            the second week of august
            next year
            and over and over again.

when will my professors stop
            overlooking the realities of student mental health
            cold calling students who go out of their way to be vulnerable about their abilities
            demanding students know all the answers
            favoring the students who have it all together.

when will my peers stop
            interchanging stress and anxiety as if they were equivalent
            bragging it took only an hour to do the readings and a day for the assignment
            being ignorant about their own abilities
            telling me how i should handle my anxiety.

forum is an anxiety-inducing platform
            talking time is tracked
            polls are timed
            anything said or written can be graded
            everyone’s face is visible to everyone at almost all times
            it’s normalized and expected to know all the answers within seconds of being asked
            everything is recorded.

forum is an anxiety-inducing platform
            yet professors won’t change their teaching patterns for me
            they won’t stop the cold calling that brings some of the worst anxiety i have experienced
            students and the community don’t talk about it
            peers don’t know how to support me
            administration only ever has good things to say about forum.

but why
            why don’t in-class accommodations exist
            why do professors have to cold call and treat me the same
            why can’t professors change their ways
            why does active learning have to look the same for everyone?

i’m tired of trying to attain the current impossible set standard.
we all have different abilities.
i don’t want to choose between coping with my anxiety and taking class on forum anymore.