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University is an education in the broadest sense. Our University section will enable you to make the most of your time at University and take advantage of all of the opportunities available to you.
Making the most of your time at University
In this section you can find all the advice and guidance you need as you apply for jobs and prepare for interviews.
In the Recruitment section there is a wealth of information about completing applications forms, online tests, and the various stages in the recruitment. Whilst the Disability section provides advice on how to manage your disability during the recruitment process including information on how to inform an employer of what you require and referring to your disability during an interview.
Managing Your Disability
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It’s always great to hear from those who have been successful.
This section profiles many individuals, working across different industries, at various stages of their careers. Their interviews demonstrate that is possible to have a successful career regardless of whether or not you have a disability. They also illustrate the adjustments that can be made in the workplace.
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By Israa Ali, First year Business Management (BA) student at the University of Sheffield
Going to university can be a nerve racking experience especially when you’re hearing impaired. You’re surrounded by new people in an unfamiliar setting, very different to home. You might have difficulties hearing above all the noise on campus and there are all these different accents you may encounter and have trouble understanding. However, I also saw university as an opportunity to practice my lip reading, better manage my hearing impairment and prepare for the world of work.
When I arrived at university, I arranged for support from the disability support service. Getting support does not mean you are weak and can’t get by without help. No, the support is there to help you work better with your hearing (or any disability you may have) and make life at university easier and safer.
Because I did not use a radio aid for a long time, I opted to have a note taker although it is very possible to get both together if it is more convenient for you. The note taking service was great and helped me immensely during lectures as I could listen to lecturers and not worry about missing anything while I took notes.
Hearing in lecture theatres
At university, I found that I could hear lecturers better in big lecture theatres than in small classrooms. This is because most large halls have sound systems and a loop system (for those who use a radio aid) fitted. Also lecturers tend to speak louder so that students sitting at the back can hear. If you are like me who relies on lip reading, then you could sit closer to the front where you will be able to see the lecturer clearer. If you use sign language you could request a sign language interpreter from the disability support service.
Another thing that I think you should be aware of is professors often upload class materials before lectures. It was really helpful for me to read the slides beforehand to get a general idea of the topic that was to be discussed in lectures. I’d highly recommend you check that your lecturers pre-upload material online when you start university and make the most of the available notes.
If like mine, your course involves group work, you may have difficulty hearing your group particularly if they are not aware that you have a hearing impairment. I told my teammates that I couldn’t hear everyone at once and asked that they take it in turns speaking; don’t feel embarrassed about making such requests and sharing information about your disability, it is better to be comfortable than to be constantly anxious during meetings.
If you own a radio aid, it might be worth using it in group meetings, placing the radio aid in the centre of the group. Another thing that may help is having visual tools. If there are study rooms on campus equipped with a TV screen or whiteboard, you could work together to write all your ideas on a laptop connected to the screen or on the board. This can help not just yourself but everyone else, as you can clearly see your ideas come together and have a document available to look back on in the future.
Group work is particularly valuable when it comes to building confidence in listening to other people. At the beginning of the year, I was not particularly confident in my hearing. I would focus too much on trying to listen and ended up missing out more. I found ways to overcome this at university and learnt how to recognise words spoken in different accents as I spoke to more people. This confidence in communication will help me in work after graduation, where I expect to be working with many different people.
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