Lauren Lesko, a communication design/new media major, has had to overcome more than the usual obstacles to complete her degree. Although she graduated from high school in 2014, thirty or more seizures a day delayed her enrollment at NCC until 2017, when a new medicine helped her control the seizures somewhat.
“I enrolled at NCC not knowing what to expect”, she says. “I was allowed to take three classes a semester and was given accommodations through the disabilities office. The rest was up to me. I take medicine six times a day, and I still have seizures. I have trouble focusing, sleeping, comprehending complex things, and have trouble communicating my thoughts because of the medicine and my disability. I needed step by step instructions, tutors and other learning aids and support to help me succeed. Stress was a major trigger for my seizures.”
Nevertheless, Lesko persisted in her studies, choosing communication design/new media as her major because she likes art and looking at things in different ways.
Her studies were only a part of her NCC experience; she participated in the Anime and Ski clubs and exercised in the College Fitness Center. She made friends with other students with disabilities, and they became their own support group.
Her advice to all students is to be prepared to learn a lot of new and challenging techniques and skills. “The classes are demanding at times, but they can be fun too. The teachers are supportive, and they make the lessons interesting.”
She feels that she is more confident. “I learned how to ask for help and to advocate for myself. I am not a quitter and despite all the obstacles, I never gave up. It took me 3 1/2 years to get my associates degree, but I did it!”
Lesko plans to find a job in her field, take photography lessons and get a seizure alert service dog. She particularly would like a job that involves working with nature, animals and the environment.