Oxford Students' Disability Community (OSDC) is an Oxford University Student Union campaign run by disabled students and for disabled students. The OSDC provide support and advocacy, run social events and campaigns to promote awareness of disability.
If you're thinking of coming to Oxford, you should know that you won't be alone in having a condition that regularly affects you. Although university is undeniably different to being at school, there are many avenues of support available at the University.
While in Oxford, I’ve dabbled in rowing, run events for a student charity, and taken up new hobbies. However, in the past, people have said that I need to seriously consider whether I should actually study at university, let alone Oxford, as I have a chronic invisible illness. My disability certainly hasn’t made studying easier, yet it means that I never take being able to do things for granted, so I am stubbornly determined to make the most of every opportunity Oxford has to offer, whether academically or socially.
My first year at Oxford has had many ups and downs, though I am still willing to say it has been the best year I have had. Having been bullied throughout school, I developed quite severe anxiety and depression. I saw university as a way to move on and had the irrational hope that all my problems would disappear. Needless to say this did not happen. The sudden shock of the change in both the work and social environment just worsened my situation. However, I would still call this year amazing because of the support provided by friends, the ease of getting help from the University counselling service, and Oxford’s active disability community. While my experiences do not reflect those of everyone with mental health disabilities, these factors have meant I am feeling much better and can’t wait for my second year to begin!
Oxford is a great place to live and study, but unfortunately the lack of physical accessibility can be a real struggle with physical disabilities. The uneven cobblestones are enough to give a person in a wheelchair serious strife. All colleges have spaces only accessible by stairs though some colleges are much worse than others. Before you get to know the city, it’s always best to call ahead to check the accessibility of your destination, and ask specific questions. But it’s not all bad news: the vast majority of people in Oxford are more than willing to do whatever they can to assist you. It may take time for you to figure out what spaces are easily accessible to you; but, once you do, your Oxford experience can be just as full and enriching as anyone else’s!