Governors State University Has Given Me My Life Back!
Merri Walton-Wilkerson - Employee, Alumni
B.A., Interdisciplinary Studies, 2006
Financial Aid Advisor
Scared! That’s how I felt my first day at Governors State University. I was pursuing a degree in Social Work, with a yearning to become a student advocate, and helping students to excel.
I had given up hope of returning to school after being told by a rheumatologist that I would never walk again. Thanks to God, I overcame that grim prognosis with therapy. My daughter invited me to a Wellness Workshop at GSU. We had fun learning ways to take better care of ourselves. More importantly, it rekindled my craving for higher education.
To walk, stand, or sit for long periods aggravated my condition. Fortunately, the campus was easy to navigate with a walker; being able to park close was an added advantage. With help from the Illinois Department of Human Resources, I began my journey.
Quickly I learned of the many resources GSU offers students. I met with Andrea in Student Accounts. Noticing my weakened condition, she allowed me to rest while processing my paper work. Then she sent me to see Jerad, the book store manager. He helped me obtain my textbooks without waiting long. They were genuinely kind.
LaTonya, my academic advisor in Interdisciplinary Studies, provided me with a study plan that seemed like it would take forever to complete. LaTonya was always helpful and supportive. Within the first week, I believed I could and would receive a high-quality learning experience. I met Tina of ACESSS during Welcome Week. ACESSS provided access to computers in a quiet study area. Tina held me accountable for my goals, helped me to recognize my accomplishments, as well as motivating and encouraging me when I was too hard on myself. It was tough –completing assignments took much longer than anticipated. My concentration and comprehension were distorted due to prolonged use of prescription drugs. I registered with Robin in Access Services for Students with Disabilities. Robin helped to further calm my anxieties and informed my instructors of ways to accommodate me, making it possible to attend lectures with minimum physical and mental stress. They allowed me to record the lectures, which helped enhance my comprehension. My instructors were very accommodating.
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