Cancervention attendees joined Ann Knettler-Smith and Chrissy Brennan for an afternoon workshop about navigating campus life and the workplace. The room was filled with YACCtors at every stage in their educations and career paths, but all benefited from this informative workshop.
Ann Knettler-Smith, Director of Drexel University’s Office of Disability Resources, began the workshop by encouraging attendees to become self-advocates and active participants in their college search. For any young adult preparing for college, it is crucial to find the right fit that aligns with individual goals for education and overall experience. For young adults with cancer, Ann recommends carefully exploring the university’s medical and disability resources. In addition, it is important to evaluate the school’s accessibility and accommodations to insure that your physical needs are met. If you are a student looking to take advantage of additional resources such as tutoring and counseling, be sure to confirm that these things are available at that particular university.
When you’re dealing with a cancer diagnosis, the trajectory of your education can be unpredictable. If you are already enrolled in university, or have taken time off during your treatment, communication with your school is key! Be sure that your physical needs are met by arranging appointments with nearby physicians, and speak to your advisor and/or dean about your circumstance. For those who are able to continue taking classes while in treatment, Ann encourages you to learn what classroom accommodations are available to you! You might need to miss some classes for your doctors appointments, or you might consider taking a lighter course load for a semester. In any case, your doctor can help you make these decisions and your school can accommodate you so that your needs are met!
Chrissy Brennan echoed Ann’s encouragement of self-advocacy and active participation in the job search process. As Associate Program Director at Cancer and Careers, Chrissy is involved in creating the resources for cancer patients looking for advice in adjusting to the workplace during or after treatment. Cancer and Careers offers a variety of free online resources, including webinars and career coaching. Chrissy also encourages active communication between you and your doctor, so that you can make informed decisions about what career options and positions to pursue! For those of you who are working during your treatment, Chrissy recommends that you learn what accommodations your employer can offer. For many, that could mean working with your employer to find creative solutions that will make the workplace more comfortable and suitable for your needs. It is also important to be aware of your company’s policies about paid time off, if you continue to work as you are able during your treatment. Visit Cancer and Career’s website and YACC’s interview with Chrissy to access more great career advice and resources if you were unable to make it to this workshop!