Award Recipients’ Insights: Amanda Lin and Disability Pride

Amanda Lin is the recipient of the 2015-2016 OPSEU Award of Excellence from the Tri-Mentoring Program (TMP)

When I opened the email informing me I had won one of the OPSEU Awards of Excellence, the first feelings I experienced were excitement, pride and surprise.  I was very surprised because I honestly did not think I would win, but I still decided to take a chance and self-nominate.  In the past, I would not have even considered applying for the award.  But my time at the Tri-Mentoring Program has helped me learn how to acknowledge my growth and successes. I am beginning to be able to recognize all the hard work I have contributed to Ryerson’s Student Life Programs by being a part of TMP.

At first after receiving the email, I was shy about admitting I was one of the award recipients.  As the news continued to sink in and I was able to digest it, I decided to take ownership and be excited about this new achievement in my budding professional career.  This award reaffirms my current vocational path, which is about creating inclusive and accessible spaces for all types of students including those with disabilities.  I am going to continue my advocacy work in creating a disability community for students with disabilities and encouraging disability pride.

From my life experiences and lessons learned while at TMP, my advice to fellow students would be make the “system” work for you and not the other way around. Second, there is no set timeline in life, it’s all about what works with your life and its circumstances.  If this means I take longer to complete my degree than the designated four years, then that is okay and it’s what works for me.  Sometimes it is hard to swallow issues of difference in life, but from what I have learned, it is these very differences that help make up who we are. Life is full of diversity, so don’t be afraid to be a part of it!