8 December 2017
Reanna Parkinson is a second year Criminology student. In this blog post she shares her experiences as a blind student studying for her Criminology and Sociology degree.

As a blind student, university is definitely a challenge. I am currently studying for a joint honours degree in Sociology and Criminology. I was interested in both subjects and could not decide which one to take, so taking both worked for me. Both departments have been very helpful. Whilst I have enjoyed my modules, day-to-day life and the process of studying can have its challenges for me. I thought that getting used to life at university would be difficult, but the staff have been extremely helpful and do their best to make sure I can access as much as possible. If a reading or document is inaccessible all I have to do is send it to the staff, and they will fix the accessibility issue as soon as they can. The library have also been very helpful, for example finding accessible versions of readings if they cannot be modified manually. Without the hard work and support of the staff in the Criminology and Sociology departments I definitely would not be doing as well as I am. In some ways, it is harder for me to study than it would be for a sighted person, but in others, it is easier. I find it harder to pick out references, quotes etc. for my essays, but my screen reader software will read things out to me, which makes background reading and research a quicker process.

I am thoroughly enjoying my degree, especially the opportunities that have arisen in second year to conduct our own research. I am particularly interested in Feminist Criminology, as well as the relationship between disabilities and crime. This is an area I would like to focus more of my study and research on, particularly in relation to the vulnerabilities of those with disabilities being victims of crime. I am also interested in studying Hate Crime. Hopefully if we study and research topics like these enough and become as informed as possible about these issues, we can find ways to successfully stop these crimes from happening.

I do not think that my disability is a limitation. It can make things more challenging, but I always find a way to deal with these. In the future I would like to work for the police, as a criminal profiler or something similar. I realise that this will not be easy, but I am definitely up for the challenge! I am really enjoying the second year of my degree and already looking forward to next year to continue developing my knowledge and understanding in both Criminology and Sociology.  Before I know it graduation will be just around the corner!