Megan Baldwin

I was a student at BYU when I started really struggling with anxiety and depression. I stopped being able to go to classes or work (I worked at the MOA cafe) because I was having such a hard time. I also stopped turning in assignments. I pretty much became a hermit. I couldn’t even go to the grocery store without having a panic attack. It took me awhile to finally reach out to the University Accessibility Center to try and clean up the mess I had made of my semester. They asked me for a note from my doctor with my medical information which I assume included my diagnoses, and then had me contact my professors. For the most part, I had a good experience with the way my professors reacted. The general answer that I received was that they would give me an incomplete and then I would have a year to turn in all the things that I had missed. One of my professors, however, did not give me that option. He said “I don't know what we can do to improve your grade enough to make it worth your time and to fix your GPA.” This was obviously not what I wanted to hear and caused me to really break down.

From that point on I just continued to deteriorate. I did not get the forms filled out in order to get the incompletes in my other classes. I stopped communicating with the University Accessibility Center entirely, and my mom ended up having to do all the work of un-enrolling me from school. It took me years to finally try and figure things out with my transcript. At that point, I had become a mother to two toddlers, and wanted to do online school. BYUI was my best option. However, my transcript at BYU had been mangled by that last semester. Five F’s. Just thinking about it caused me to have panic attacks. But I eventually gathered enough courage to contact the University Accessibility Center. They told me that it was possible for me to retroactively withdraw from the classes I had failed that semester, and directed me to the Petitions Office. I sent in my petition, explaining the circumstances surrounding that gosh-awful semester. They accepted it and my transcript was repaired. From there, I applied to transfer to BYUI.

Altogether, I had an acceptable experience with the way BYU handled my struggles with mental illness. I was lucky. I only had one professor that pushed back when I asked for help. But I wish that all of my professors would have recognized that my truancy and incomplete assignments were a red flag and reached out to me. But the University Accessibility Center did their job. I do wish they had followed up with me. I was suicidal, and I stopped communicating with them and with my professors. I did not get the paperwork turned in that I needed to. For all they knew, I could have been in a lot of danger. If they had reached out to me to try and help me continue working towards getting incompletes in my classes, that could have changed my experience completely. More reaching out is a huge way BYU could improve, I think. Also, I think it would have been helpful if they had assigned a BYU therapist to my case to make sure I was doing ok. I think what they did was the minimum, which was helpful, but not helpful enough.