My SOAR story starts back in 2016 when I started having undiagnosed abdominal migraines. During this time I was misdiagnosed over and over again, there seemed to be no solution… then came the day January 19th, 2020. This was the day I got my first cranial migraine – I was on a ski trip with my youth group during a long weekend of my junior year of high school. After a long night with little rest, I woke up and felt different. The light now hurt my eyes, I felt nauseous constantly, I could not be in the car if I was not driving, I had little appetite, and my head was in a state of pain I had never experienced before. I knew migraines were hereditary for me, but that wasn’t my first guess as to what was going on. Then began the weeks of doctor’s appointments and hospital visits, each filled with shots, bloodwork, and IVs. After weeks of searching for answers we got one, I was diagnosed with chronic migraines. This diagnosis was shocking for me, I didn’t quite know what it meant or how it would affect my life, but it quickly took over. I was bedridden for weeks, unable to do anything. I missed a quarter of my junior year and had to make it up throughout the fourth quarter and the beginning of my summer before senior year. My story with chronic migraines was different because my migraine never went away. The migraine that started on January 19, 2020, is the one I still have today. I remember being late to the college application process because of missing so much school, it made me anxious thinking about still struggling with this in college. Nonetheless, I began applying and touring schools. I knew I wanted to end up at a small, private school like the one I grew up going to. After many many tours, I landed at Furman and something about Furman just felt right. I was able to express my worries about my health concerns and Furman cared and wanted to help. This was a refreshing feeling and ultimately why I chose to attend Furman. I needed a school that 1) cared and 2) was willing to meet me where I was. Furman exceeded both of these expectations and I was quickly introduced to SOAR. 

SOAR is the Student Office for Accessibility Resources and its mission is “to create an accessible, inclusive, sustainable learning environment, where disability is recognized as an aspect of diversity that is integral to the campus community and to society. Our primary objective is to provide equal access to campus programs and activities for all students.” This stands true for all students apart of this resource. 

When I arrived at Furman, I had already filled out my SOAR forms and was awaiting my meeting with my future SOAR counselor. After a few days of being on campus, I had my meeting, I was able to explain my situation and request my desired needs within the classroom and out. SOAR helped me design a list of accommodations for my time here at Furman. This list is shared with my professors each semester and they work alongside SOAR and I to accommodate my needs. Whether it be extra time on an assignment, flexible attendance, or a separate setting for tests, my needs have always been met. 

SOAR is just one of the amazing resources we have here on campus and I am forever grateful I landed here at Furman, where I will always have the assistance I need. If you have any questions about SOAR or any other campus resources please feel free to reach out!

-Olivia Pearson

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