Student Disability Services Spotlight
Taylor Peterson, UI Senior
What is your current academic status?
- Senior, graduating in May with my BSN
List all the extra-curricular activities you are involved with including any officer roles.
- UISG Senator
- Student Disability Organization (SDO), President
- Active Minds, Advisor
- Sigma Theta Tau, Member
What is your disability or condition if you are comfortable sharing?
I have ulcerative colitis, also known as inflammatory bowel disease. The disease goes through periods of remissions and flares. While flaring, I can have a lot of gastrointestinal discomfort, including abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. It causes me to feel extremely tired, dehydrated, and can cause weight loss. I am currently in remission and feel well on most days, thanks to my medication and lifestyle changes. I hope that other students with this condition utilize SDS to meet their needs.
What accommodations have been helpful or how has SDS impacted you?
Testing at SDS has eased a lot of my worries of having to leave an exam to use the restroom. In a normal classroom, this can disturb students or may not even be allowed. At SDS, I am allowed to use the restroom, which decreases much of my anxiety. The staff at SDS has always been very helpful and accommodating to me.
What advice would you give to a high school student who has a disability and plans to attend college next year?
I would advise any high school student with a disability to take time touring the campus you plan to attend so that you are comfortable before that first week of school rolls around. If you have your schedule ahead of time, you can plan the routes to your classes and figure out what will work best for you so you don’t feel nervous or rushed when the time comes. Plan where you will study, but also plan what you can do to relax and have fun!
What advice would you give to a student on campus who has a disability?
I would encourage any student who has a disability to get involved in SDO (Student Disability Org)! You can get to know others with similar challenges and have fun while also helping make changes on campus that will make it better for yourself and other students with disabilities. Don’t let your disability define you, but acknowledge that you have overcome challenges that the average person has not and take encouragement from that. Spend time promoting awareness of your disability—we can’t change people's beliefs, but we can educate to change them.
If you could share some general advice with a student on campus or a high school student, what would it be?
I would encourage students to get involved in any way possible! Find a student group you are passionate about. Even if you are shy and introverted like me, find something that will bring you out of your shell. You ’ll be happy you did.
Where is your favorite place to eat in town?
My favorite place to eat in Iowa City is definitely Hamburg Inn. The “Hawkeye Hog” omelet is a must-have for any Hawkeye.
What is your favorite food and drink?
My favorite food is any kind of pie and my favorite drink is chocolate milk (even though I am lactose intolerant, whoops!).
What is your favorite activity to do at UI?
My favorite activity is tailgating for and attending the Hawkeye football games. Go Hawks!
What are your hopes or plans after you graduate?
After graduation, I will be studying to pass my nursing boards so that I can start working as an RN. After gaining 3-4 years of experience, I plan to go back to school to advance my degree and work in nursing administration. Outside of work, I hope to do a lot of traveling, start a family, and get a Dalmatian puppy.
Other Spotlight Features