By Yamila García
Some changes are coming in my life, and having to adapt to something new is always a great challenge for me. I don’t usually get along with changes, but I recognize that they are necessary. I have talked before about being able to recognize when we need support, but I always find it difficult to put it into practice. I have this illogical idea that I “should” be able to handle everything. But no, I can’t, and that’s why this time I asked for help.
I will take a class in the summer simultaneous to those changes that I mentioned before. I know how those changes will affect me. I know I’m going to feel like I’m floating, without anything to hold on to, and that it’s going to take me a while to adjust. I know that this class is going to be a bigger challenge than it would be in times of stability. I contacted my professor, explained my difficulties in adapting to changes, mentioned that I usually take the first few weeks to adapt and end up missing the opportunity to learn, and expressed how uncertainty doesn’t help me adapt more easily.
I asked my professor for the class syllabus and any additional resources they could offer to help me prepare. My professor not only responded immediately but also showed extraordinary kindness and understanding. They sent me the syllabus and slides from previous semesters and expressed that even though they are not neurodivergent, they understand and strive to make their classes inclusive for everyone, regardless of their needs, abilities, and interests. Additionally, my professor offered to meet with me to discuss additional ways to support me in the class and showed their full and complete support.
I understand that professors like mine seek to understand, gather information, and make themselves available to help others, making their path easier. I know they do it consciously and with the intention to support, but even so, the impact they have on students is much greater than they can imagine. I have thought a lot about how this makes me feel, and I believe the best way to express it is that it feels like “an open door.” In many classes, I feel like I’m looking through a small window from the outside, trying to grasp something of what’s happening inside. But in this class, I already feel like I’m being invited to learn and that my presence is welcome. It feels as if my professor has truly opened the door for me and said, “Here is a place for you too. Here, you are not a nuisance or something that bothers me.” If there are professors who, without being neurodivergent, can demonstrate this sensitivity toward students who function differently, I believe that at this point, not being this way is simply a choice.