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Day 3 of 31 Days SMA Topic: Being a college student with SMA My name is Dan McHale and I’m 20 years old from Danville, California. I’m a Junior at Saint Mary’s College of California and I am pursuing a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on Data Analytics. With my love for sports, I hope to use my degree to obtain a job in the sports field. When I began college, I was hesitant to get involved because I didn’t have my high school friends to encourage me to join clubs and extracurricular activities on campus. I had to navigate a new campus with a new nurse and new professors. It was overwhelming. Besides going to basketball games, I didn’t go out much – I solely focused on my academics. In the midst of all this, I was trying to figure out how to live on campus with the level of care I need. I commuted to campus for the first few months by bus. However, the bus was constantly late and unreliable. By October, I was desperate to live on campus. So, I decided to hire students to spend the nights with me. After a lot of advocating by Disability Rights, I was able to duplicate all of my machines so I could live on campus. After a long day of class, I could return to my dorm and relax. That’s when everything changed. By my sophomore year, I challenged myself to get involved and meet new people. When the club fair rolled around, I joined a business club and a Christian club called Intervarsity. I regularly attended Intervarsity events and still do. I have met most of my friends here and I’m so grateful that I pushed myself to get involved. For those with SMA who are thinking about going to college, don’t let your disability prevent you from achieving your goals. Yeah, of course it’s harder to manage college life with SMA, including needing care, being a disability rights advocate, and facing the daily challenges that we are all familiar with. But at the end of the day, you will remember why you are there: to grow as a person and to prove to yourself and others that you are beyond capable of fulfilling your wildest dreams. #SMAAwarenessMonth #SMAAwareness #31daysofsma2020
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