How far I’ve come

by Nathan Bodie

“The memories and bonds I created will last forever.” – Nathan Bodie

When I was 27, I had a fear of not having any idea what I wanted to do for a living. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to do something that people would remember me by and in which I would have a huge impact, thus hoping I could change people’s perceptions about people with disabilities. My fear was alleviated when I started studying Political Science and Social Justice at the University of Victoria.

All my life I wanted to go to university. It felt like something I was supposed to do after being done with high school. When I first started I felt excited and energized. Instead of just going in circles with my life, I was going in circles trying to find my classroom at the University of Victoria campus!

My experience at university was everything I expected and much, much more. The memories and bonds I created there will last forever.

I was able to go to university through the support of STEPS Forward, the B.C. initiative for inclusive post-secondary education. The STEPS inclusion facilitators helped me to map my way through class and the campus community. We had daily check-in meetings to help me with assignments or just to see how things were going.

After five years of studies at UVic I can say I have started to reach my goal of making a lasting impact. Before this year, students supported by STEPS Forward have not been allowed to attend convocation. This wasn’t right to me, so I started to advocate with a friend and fellow student and our speaking up made a difference. Over 4,000 students signed a petition asking UVic to allow me, and others supported by STEPS, to participate in convocation.

On Wednesday June 14 I graduated from UVic with a Certificate of Completion. I was under a lot of pressure because I have been really anxious for this moment that stood before me that afternoon. It was a numbing feeling of shock that I’m still in today. The hard work and the sacrifice that not only I made, but people around me made, I wouldn’t change it for anything. As I saw that completion certificate in my hand, I realized that I’d give up nothing for that moment.

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