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Fat-Friendly Campuses?


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Okay, I'll admit that I've put on weight since undergrad (not telling you how much, but trust me it's a lot). As embarrassing as it is, my size right now means that I should be looking at schools that will be better at accommodating someone like me. For those who haven't thought about it, its really useful for someone who is larger to be at a campus where there would be things like seating that works for people of size (no armrests and not flimsy), as well as minimal walking (right now I need to rest after 20-30 paces or so), and a culture that isn't going to look down on me for being this size (or that I'm going to have to be left out of things because everyone else is so 'active').

 

I do feel a little embarrassed about it, because I was an athlete in undergrad and was way into the fitness thing back then. I also know from recent visits to my alma mater (Penn) that it is not at all the kind of campus that would work for me now. So I need help with this. Any thoughts would be welcome, especially from other women of size! 

 

Thanks! :)

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Or you could uh... you know, try to lose weight? I don't know your situation at all and don't mean to be judgmental... but if you have to rest after every 20-30 paces you are definitely not getting th

Well, the OP logged on asking for advice on which campuses might be more accommodating--not to be "concern-trolled" on how to lose weight. I'm sure that she knows where to find advice for weight loss.

I'll buy you a Dr. Phil shirt to sport with your fancy mangina.

I'm not sure if it's really possible to say which places are accessible at the entire campus level. Environments can vary a lot between a single department/program. For example, my program is only one floor and not very large. The most anyone has to walk from one office/classroom to another is probably something like 100m and that's only if you are going from one end to another. The classrooms in our building are conference room style--no giant lecture halls. There are chairs (with and without armrests) and several rows of long tables (no annoying flip-desk thing that is attached to a seat). 
 

But I have no idea what other classrooms on campus look like because I rarely see them. Grad school is very different from undergrad. You don't have to rush between buildings to make it to class etc. We mostly stay in one building all day and never see anyone else from other departments on campus! I think a common experience for grad students is to be stopped by random people on campus looking for a certain building and we would have no idea what's on campus other than the few buildings we work in or visit. Our general strategy is to direct these people to an undergrad who actually knows what's going on. On many days, I go from home to my office and never even leave the building I work in until it's time to go back home--so I interact very little with the people outside of my program on these days. 

 

As for the culture, I think this also really depends on the individual programs, not the whole campus. And this will change over time as new students enter and old students graduate. Again, graduate students are generally much less involved in the whole "campus culture". In my program, there are a pretty wide range of "active" levels, just like any group of people in the world. Some people are very active and basically work out or do a sport more than once a day. Some people do a few things a few times a week. Some people mostly just do recreational stuff like play tennis, go hiking on some weekends etc. And some people don't do anything at all! 

 

I think the best way for you to judge what environments you feel comfortable in is by visiting the programs. I think you should apply to programs that you are interested in academically and worry less about what the culture is like unless you actually know people in the program and/or have visited the specific program. Otherwise, for people that are not you, it's hard for us to say where you would be comfortable or not!

 

Good luck!

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I second TakeruK, and politely suggest if this is a serious concern of yours, that you contact the school's disability services center just to get a feel for how slight mobility issues would play out on campus. If walking long distances is as much of a problem as you say it is, their disability services center should be able to guide you and help you with the walkability and accessibility of any given campus. They are probably much better equipped to give you suggestions than we are! Better to narrow down school choices based on actual studies/research/POIs first, and then contact the DRC before you apply. 

 

I couldn't possibly name such campuses in any helpful way without knowing your field, and I suspect I'd only be able to link you to their DRC pages even then. 

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Or you could uh... you know, try to lose weight? I don't know your situation at all and don't mean to be judgmental... but if you have to rest after every 20-30 paces you are definitely not getting the exercise you need and should be more concerned about becoming healthier than finding a campus that have seats with no armrests.

 

Edit: oh and to answer your original question...stay away from Colorado I guess. Lots of active health nuts here.

Edited by persimmony
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I'm not sure if it's really possible to say which places are accessible at the entire campus level. Environments can vary a lot between a single department/program. For example, my program is only one floor and not very large. The most anyone has to walk from one office/classroom to another is probably something like 100m and that's only if you are going from one end to another. The classrooms in our building are conference room style--no giant lecture halls. There are chairs (with and without armrests) and several rows of long tables (no annoying flip-desk thing that is attached to a seat). 

 

But I have no idea what other classrooms on campus look like because I rarely see them. Grad school is very different from undergrad. You don't have to rush between buildings to make it to class etc. We mostly stay in one building all day and never see anyone else from other departments on campus! I think a common experience for grad students is to be stopped by random people on campus looking for a certain building and we would have no idea what's on campus other than the few buildings we work in or visit. Our general strategy is to direct these people to an undergrad who actually knows what's going on. On many days, I go from home to my office and never even leave the building I work in until it's time to go back home--so I interact very little with the people outside of my program on these days. 

 

As for the culture, I think this also really depends on the individual programs, not the whole campus. And this will change over time as new students enter and old students graduate. Again, graduate students are generally much less involved in the whole "campus culture". In my program, there are a pretty wide range of "active" levels, just like any group of people in the world. Some people are very active and basically work out or do a sport more than once a day. Some people do a few things a few times a week. Some people mostly just do recreational stuff like play tennis, go hiking on some weekends etc. And some people don't do anything at all! 

 

I think the best way for you to judge what environments you feel comfortable in is by visiting the programs. I think you should apply to programs that you are interested in academically and worry less about what the culture is like unless you actually know people in the program and/or have visited the specific program. Otherwise, for people that are not you, it's hard for us to say where you would be comfortable or not!

 

Good luck!

How do you know which ones are undergrads? Haha. 

 

You give very good advice. I never thought about being in the same vicinity all day, but that does make perfect sense. It's not like in undergrad where you'll have random classes all over campus. You'll most likely be in the same building all day. 

 

I second TakeruK, and politely suggest if this is a serious concern of yours, that you contact the school's disability services center just to get a feel for how slight mobility issues would play out on campus. If walking long distances is as much of a problem as you say it is, their disability services center should be able to guide you and help you with the walkability and accessibility of any given campus. They are probably much better equipped to give you suggestions than we are! Better to narrow down school choices based on actual studies/research/POIs first, and then contact the DRC before you apply. 

 

I couldn't possibly name such campuses in any helpful way without knowing your field, and I suspect I'd only be able to link you to their DRC pages even then. 

Very good point. If you really can only walk 20-30 steps at a time, then I would consider that some type of mobility disability. Contact the DRC and they'll be able to better assist you than any of us will. 

 

Or you could uh... you know, try to lose weight? I don't know your situation at all and don't mean to be judgmental... but if you have to rest after every 20-30 paces you are definitely not getting the exercise you need and should be more concerned about becoming healthier than finding a campus that have seats with no armrests.

 

Edit: oh and to answer your original question...stay away from Colorado I guess. Lots of active health nuts here.

I like your style, persimmony. 

 

Now my insight... Once again, you can only take 20-30 steps at a time. That qualifies, in my opinion, as disabled. But of course, it's a correctable disability. Grad schools don't start for another 6 months. I'm not saying you need to become an Olympian within that time, but you shouldn't just settle for 20-30 steps. You should make it your goal to increase your steps each and every week. Who knows, maybe by the time you get to grad school you'll be perfectly mobile. 

 

I see what you're saying about having seating, desks etc that are accommodating to your needs. To tie in to my previous point, you do have 6 months to work on your fitness. Maybe it won't be as much of a problem by then. But I don't see finding suitable seating to be such a big problem. I'm sure the disability department provides some sort of seating available and they can place it in the classroom for you. There is someone in one of my classes who has his own desk. I don't know exactly what his disability is. He looks fine to me. But he is an older guy and a war vet. Sure it has something to do with that. 

 

And as far as culture... We've talked about this in the other thread about fitness. You didn't really seem to respond to anyone's advice, or at least anything that wasn't what you wanted to hear. My points were that educated people seem to be more health conscious. You'll find way more vegans, yoga nuts, cyclists, mountain climbers etc on college campuses than you'll find anywhere else in the country. I know 70-year old professors who bike to campus every day. Even if they're not meat head gym rats, they can still be health/fitness conscious. I've noticed that younger undergrads are more into looking good and older grad students are more into being healthy. There's really no way of getting around it. I don't think there's such thing as a non-fit culture. You probably won't have a bunch of classmates being too vocal about their workout routines, but you'll definitely have a lot of fit classmates. 

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My campus (Columbia) seems like a disability access nightmare.  New York in general is not very wheelchair-accessible, and while Columbia has added some ramps and things a lot of them are only accessible by CUID swipe access and special permission - which means you have to register with the Office of Disability Services to get the swipe access programmed into your card.  And even then, a lot of it is extremely roundabout.  I'm thinking about my department in particular - it's on the 2nd through 4th floor of the building, but the building has a byzantine extension added to it.  Let's say that you're on the third floor (where your lab might be) but you need to go to the third floor in the extension (where your PI's office might be); you'd have to take STAIRS down to get to the same floor in the extension! If you couldn't take the stairs, you'd have to take two elevators to get to the extension (one up to the 4th floor, then take the ramp into the 4th floor of the extension, and then take the elevators in the extension down to the 3rd floor).

 

Also, the campus layout itself has lots of stairs.  Like when you first walk-on campus, I would say about 90% of the academic buildings are up some outdoor stairs on "upper campus."  There is a wheelchair lift, but you have to have swipe access to use it.  There's a ramp on the far end of the stairs...but it's on the far end of the stairs, and it's only for the lower part of the staircase (and I'm not sure it's wheelchair accessible.  I've only ever seen it used for deliveries).  The upper part requires a chair lift to navigate.

 

Also, a lot of Columbia's academic buildings and classrooms were built in the 1800s (and some even earlier) so some of them have these tiny uncomfortable wooden chairs with attached desks/armrests.  There's one class in particular I TAed in 610 Schermerhorn that is just awful.  I also took a class in Hamilton (which is the only academic building on lower campus) and I hated those chairs.

 

And of course, New York requires a lot of walking.

 

I would recommend visiting the disability services website of each of the universities you are considering.  They will have more information about the accessibility of their campuses and also may give some indication as to how difficult or easy it is to get accommodations if you need them without judgment.

 

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You didn't really seem to respond to anyone's advice, or at least anything that wasn't what you wanted to hear.

 

Well, the OP logged on asking for advice on which campuses might be more accommodating--not to be "concern-trolled" on how to lose weight. I'm sure that she knows where to find advice for weight loss. The internet is pretty big. And I've never met a fat person who was completely surprised by a) the fact that they were fat, or b. the fact that being fat isn't healthy. The world pretty much makes sure that they know this.

Edited by lifealive
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Well, the OP logged on asking for advice on which campuses might be more accommodating--not to be "concern-trolled" on how to lose weight. I'm sure that she knows where to find advice for weight loss. The internet is pretty big. And I've never met a fat person who was completely surprised by a) the fact that they were fat, or b. the fact that being fat isn't healthy. The world pretty much makes sure that they know this.

 

Not that I disagree, but the OP has also consistently brought this (their weight) up in threads even where it is completely irrelevant. My first instinct was that they were baiting for concern trolls and fatphobia, honestly by repeatedly stating it, not responding further, acting coy about weight despite the seeming self-photo. But I gave honest advice for what is an honest question regardless. 

 

Again, asking what campuses are most accommodating without even knowing their field is pointless. All we can really say is ask the DRC at the schools you're looking at. 

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Well, the OP logged on asking for advice on which campuses might be more accommodating--not to be "concern-trolled" on how to lose weight. I'm sure that she knows where to find advice for weight loss. The internet is pretty big. And I've never met a fat person who was completely surprised by a) the fact that they were fat, or b. the fact that being fat isn't healthy. The world pretty much makes sure that they know this.

And people gave her good advice. They also threw in that she has time to get fit. You're quite the sensitive one. I see you've been vote-trolling my posts for a while. Anything that Jeff Foxworhty wouldn't approve of seems to offend you. 

 

By the way, your advice was great. We should close this thread now. You summed it all up. 

 

P.S. And the thread I was referring to (the one you quoted) was unrelated to "fat friendly" campuses. It was a thread about fitness and she was basically asking how she could avoid fit people. Obviously, since the topic of the thread and all the responders were fit, we were trying to give her encouraging advice. The only advice she responded to was from people saying how they hate "fit movements." 

Edited by Gnome Chomsky
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Believe it or not--- and I know this is going to come as a shock to some--- not every fat person is fat through fault of their own.  I know, right?

 

There is this med they call the "dreaded pred":

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2193172/Prescription-drugs-Lupus-make-Napa-California-Jena-Graves-obese.html

 

This happened to my wife, who has taken massive doses of prednisone for her Crohn's disease.  It irritates me to no end that people will assume she's fat because she's just lazy or makes bad choices.  Never assume.  You don't know what's going on with the other person.

 

ETA: Now me, I'm fat through fault of my own.

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Believe it or not--- and I know this is going to come as a shock to some--- not every fat person is fat through fault of their own.  I know, right?

 

There is this med they call the "dreaded pred":

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2193172/Prescription-drugs-Lupus-make-Napa-California-Jena-Graves-obese.html

 

This happened to my wife, who has taken massive doses of prednisone for her Crohn's disease.  It irritates me to no end that people will assume she's fat because she's just lazy or makes bad choices.  Never assume.  You don't know what's going on with the other person.

 

ETA: Now me, I'm fat through fault of my own.

I agree. I know things can happen. But from what I've gathered from the OP's 9 posts (most of which were on the topic of fitness in different threads), she's talked about how she used to be big into fitness but isn't into it anymore and about her favorite pizza places. I don't know her story. I know most people can at least get a little better. If she can only walk 20-30 steps at a time now, I'm assuming with hard work she could walk more. It seems like she's not interested in putting in the work. I may be way off and be a total asshole. She has a problem with people who are big into fitness, but there's a difference between not being interested in fitness and not being able to walk more than 20 steps at a time. This isn't about fake tans and tank tops anymore--it's about life and death. 

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And people gave her good advice. They also threw in that she has time to get fit. You're quite the sensitive one. I see you've been vote-trolling my posts for a while. Anything that Jeff Foxworhty wouldn't approve of seems to offend you. 

 

Hoo-boy, I think I voted down two or three of your posts, and because I disagree with them, as I do with the post you left above. A tad bit paranoid, there?

 

Relax, pal. It's just a message board. No need to get yourself in a big twist about it.

 

ETA: Just gave you a few more downvotes, just so you could feel better about it.

Edited by lifealive
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Hoo-boy, I think I voted down two or three of your posts, and because I disagree with them, as I do with the post you left above. A tad bit paranoid, there?

 

Relax, pal. It's just a message board. No need to get yourself in a big twist about it.

 

ETA: Just gave you a few more downvotes, just so you could feel better about it.

I just looked at my last 20 posts. You down-voted 10 of them. Far from 2-3. But once again, you're sensitive. Anything that isn't, "Aww you're so great. Just keep being great," seems to offend you. I don't mind. I just find your softness humoring. 

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I just looked at my last 20 posts. You down-voted 10 of them. Far from 2-3. But once again, you're sensitive. Anything that isn't, "Aww you're so great. Just keep being great," seems to offend you. I don't mind. I just find your softness humoring. 

Well, yes, *now* I've given you about ten downvotes. I think I've got a new hobby. I don't seem to be the only one downvoting you, either. Perhaps it's you? You seem to have an issue with your reputation points, as this anxiety comes up in a lot of your posts. As you said, it's not something to be sensitive about, though. You shouldn't be so concerned whether or not people like you.

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Well, yes, *now* I've given you about ten downvotes. I think I've got a new hobby. I don't seem to be the only one downvoting you, either. Perhaps it's you? You seem to have an issue with your reputation points, as this anxiety comes up in a lot of your posts. As you said, it's not something to be sensitive about, though. You shouldn't be so concerned whether or not people like you.

Well, my reputation is almost 300. At least it was about a week ago. I could care less about it. I just find it funny when the same person down votes everything I say and I've never had the pleasure of conversing with them. I've been seeing your down votes for a while. And you didn't just make it 10 right now. It was almost 10 before you went on your little craze. And I hardly mention my voting. In fact, I can't remember the last time I have. I've mentioned people unfairly down voting Loric when he has given some great advice, and Pinkster/CorruptedInnocence/LittleDarlings up voting all her own posts after she received a near -400 rating after some of her ignorant posts in her husband/abortion threads. I hardly mention my own down votes. I mention when people like Sigaba stalk me, and a few other people. 

Edited by Gnome Chomsky
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Well, my reputation is almost 300. At least it was about a week ago. I could care less about it.

 

The fact that you keep such track of who votes up or down on whatever seems to speak otherwise.

 

 

 

I just find it funny when the same person down votes everything I say and I've never had the pleasure of conversing with them.

 

*shrugs* It's a public internet board. We don't have to converse in order to up or down vote each other. I've left plenty of other downvotes in the past week. I didn't know I was "trolling" you. That's my point--don't take it so personally.

Edited by lifealive
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Well, my reputation is almost 300. At least it was about a week ago. I could care less about it. I just find it funny when the same person down votes everything I say and I've never had the pleasure of conversing with them. I've been seeing your down votes for a while. And you didn't just make it 10 right now. It was almost 10 before you went on your little craze. And I hardly mention my voting. In fact, I can't remember the last time I have. I've mentioned people unfairly down voting Loric when he has given some great advice, and Pinkster/CorruptedInnocence/LittleDarlings up voting all her own posts after she received a near -400 rating after some of her ignorant posts in her husband/abortion threads. I hardly mention my own down votes. I mention when people like Sigaba stalk me, and a few other people. 

 

Well, my reputation is almost 300. At least it was about a week ago. I could care less about it. I just find it funny when the same person down votes everything I say and I've never had the pleasure of conversing with them. I've been seeing your down votes for a while. And you didn't just make it 10 right now. It was almost 10 before you went on your little craze. And I hardly mention my voting. In fact, I can't remember the last time I have. I've mentioned people unfairly down voting Loric when he has given some great advice, and Pinkster/CorruptedInnocence/LittleDarlings up voting all her own posts after she received a near -400 rating after some of her ignorant posts in her husband/abortion threads. I hardly mention my own down votes. I mention when people like Sigaba stalk me, and a few other people. 

 

Think she'll ever settle on a pseudonym?  

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Look at the department, your interests, find a fit, apply to those schools, and I am sure if a program accepts your application, they can arrange for certain special accommodations.

 

This should not factor which schools you apply in the least bit!

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Look at the department, your interests, find a fit, apply to those schools, and I am sure if a program accepts your application, they can arrange for certain special accommodations.

 

This should not factor which schools you apply in the least bit!

 

That's a really upbeat view of how disability is approached in schools. I have a friend transferring from a CC to a 4 yr college and she frequently needs to use a wheelchair. She texted me yesterday that the college she was looking at had little to nothing in the way of a DRC for physical disabilities and that the tour group left behind her and her father while they were trying to navigate with her chair. 

 

For those whom walking is not easy, you can't simply just say, "I'm sure they'll be accommodating!" because they may, in fact, be the opposite of that. 

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In terms of culture- this may not be relevant in many places, and might require a lot of digging, but you could look at the university's/students' research in different departments to look for fat-positive topics (in the humanities/social sciences, most likely). I'm sure there are not that many, but if any of the universities you are interested in for your own research also have faculty or students working on fat-positive topics, I would guess there is much greater likelihood that the culture will be more accepting at least at the grad level. For example while I was deciding where to apply and looking at student research topics, I noticed someone in art history at U Alberta is doing a research project on artists who use their own bodies to engage in fat politics and body empowerment.

 

Also consider the terrain of the cities themselves and public transport options. The hills of San Francisco might not be friendly, and when my mother and I went to New Orleans she got really angry that the pavement was cracked everywhere and jutting into the air because the roots of the oak trees are so huge! (she walks with a cane)

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If you can only walk 20-30 paces in between breaks, you need to get your health on track. Picking a grad school shouldn't be your top priority.

Again, I don't think it's a call any of us can make about the OP (granted the OP's post is genuine). Sure, it makes total sense that one should get certain aspects of their health on track before making a big change, but one can't always put one's life on hold either. It's not like we all have the luxury of doing one thing at a time. And perhaps the prospect of going to grad school will motivate this person (or any other person in the same predicament) to make health a priority.

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Some great posts here from future researchers in the life sciences that not only ignore research in body weight and obesity, but show an astounding lack of empathy. I am so excited for the future of medicine and related fields.

Edited by exponentialdecay
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