Stacey Edwards is in her 5th and final year of study at the University of Otago. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Nutrition in 2013 and is expecting to complete her Master of Dietetics at the end of this year. “My family have a history of obesity, heart disease and Type Two Diabetes, so I have always had some interest in those issues”.
When Stacey was aged 13 her parents felt there was something not quite right with her hearing. At first they thought she was just being a typical teenager with ‘selective’ hearing but then realised there had been some issues her whole life. Stacey explained that there were often times when she was unaware people were talking to her or she had forgotten things that people had recently said to her. An appointment with an Audiologist confirmed that she had an auditory processing disorder. This meant that Stacey’s hearing was fine, but she struggled with the processing of verbal information.
Stacey’s biggest challenge at University has been keeping up with lectures and managing mental fatigue. Trying to process verbal information in a lecture and write it down whilst trying to process the next lot of information was a huge challenge for Stacey. After having a day of classes where she was constantly working hard to process information, she was left exhausted and this was difficult socially as she never felt like doing much with her friends.
According to Stacey, the support offered through Disability Information and Support was fantastic and she doesn’t believe she would have completed her degree without it! She received assistance with note-taking and tutoring which she said helped a lot and made studying more enjoyable. Stacey also found support from her peers invaluable. Making friends with other students doing the same degree and having flatmates who understood her impairment was awesome and made her study experience better. Stacey now has some great friends for life! “It is also great to develop relationships with staff in the Department, and older students who have been there done that, as they are always happy to offer advice and help if you need it”.
Stacey’s message to students with impairments who are either thinking about attending University or currently studying is please don’t be afraid to ask for help. She said that there is nothing to be ashamed of. “It just means that the way you learn will be different to others, and that’s not a bad thing”.