Lauren Welton-Arndt, a pharmacy senior, is the recipient of the 2020-21 Lois Ford LaBauve Scholarship, an award given to outstanding students with disabilities. She is set to graduate this August and embark on a rewarding career in managed care. Read on to learn more about her experiences navigating college life and the lessons she learned along the way.
Would you be open to sharing a bit about your disability?
When I was young, my teachers said I was smart, but I would have a hard time reading and paying attention in class. Eventually I was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. Throughout elementary school and middle school, I was in special education. During that time, I had extra time on tests and someone to read questions to me. As I got older, my reading abilities grew and no longer needed someone to read questions out loud to me, but I still needed extra time. In high school, I was no longer in special education and was able to move into the standard curriculum at my school. During my last year of high school, I was able to start taking AP classes and eventually majored in biochemistry in undergrad.
What words of encouragement would you like to share with students with disabilities?
Be honest about your disabilities and get started with Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) as soon as you can. When I first started pharmacy school, I did not seek out assistance from SSD. During my first semester, I struggled and was able to get accommodations by the end of the semester. I wish I would have gotten my accommodations sooner.
What message would you like to share with the community at large?
Everyone has a different way of learning. Some people are auditory learners, while others learn by reading. Also, disabilities come in many different forms. Some people have disabilities that are visible. Mine, on the other hand, is invisible and people can become frustrated with me when I don’t understand them the first time. Because I am very far along in my education, people often forget that I have disabilities. It is important to be kind, and understanding to others.