Ronit Himatlal, 23, who lives in the London Borough of Harrow, is spending his summer at the Muscular Dystrophy UK office on work experience with the Moving Up project. He blogs about his life changing experiences at Middlesex University, particularly his involvement in the Disabled Student’s Assembly
Going to university is a big step into anyone’s life. I always thought that university would develop knowledge of my chosen career path, build on my life skills and give me a fresh way of looking at the world, which is why it was always my dream to go.
I was accepted at Middlesex University after a long application process and a long wait for the results of my previous course. It was a new world filled with fresh challenges, lots to learn, and a totally different lifestyle. I was nervous at the beginning but I always had faith I would be able to overcome the nerves and take everyone’s advice- enjoy yourself!
The fresher’s fair was one of the first events at Middlesex where I was expected to socialise with the people I would see for the next three years. Here, I met the Students’ Union, ‘MDXSU’, which represents students and is their first point of contact for any problems. This ended up being my first step to conquering my new world. I wanted to make positive changes outside of my studies, as I always want to wherever I go.
At the fresher’s fair we had the opportunity to join societies and groups. As a passionate activist for the rights of disabled people I was on the look-out for a group where I could meet students with disabilities with whom I would be able to exchange ideas and make changes for a better and more accessible Middlesex University: I found one!
At Middlesex we have Liberation Assemblies, which, according to MDXSU, are “communities of students coming together to network, share experiences, meet new people, find out more about particular issues and campaign for change”. We also have the Women and LGBT Student Liberation Assemblies.
I joined the MDXSU Disabled Students’ Liberation Assembly. Through my knowledge of the union and my own passion, I helped to develop a committee that would organise everything the assembly does, allowing for other students to get involved as well. I was nominated General Secretary, commonly referred to as Vice President.
My involvement in the assembly changed my life, as well as the running of Middlesex University and Middlesex Students’ Union. It was a big accomplishment for my first year, which gave me opportunities to speak with the university, in particular the Vice Chancellor, to make the university more accessible and the lives of disabled students easier. The university continues to follow this path to champion diversity on campus. Considering that Middlesex University is one of the most diverse universities in the world, and climbs up the rankings year on year, this was a much needed effort.
At university we shouldn’t expect to spend all our time studying. We need to get involved in other ways if we want to develop the life skills to face the world, particularly the employment market. As a disabled student I face difficulties in advancing in careers and education. We need to get involved in how things are run, not only to develop ourselves but to get our rights, thoughts and vision heard.