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Meet Elah Gershon Rubin

A Story From Our Community

I am 24, and as of April 2022; a Seneca College Graduate of the Veterinary Technician program.

Before the start of my program in 2018, I had a meeting with Seneca's Counselling and accessibility services, and to my surprise and delight they were very accommodating and understanding. The following is a list of the accommodations I received, and all of which helped me succeed: 1. Reduced load, program in 4 years rather than the normal 2 years length 2. Double time for tests and exams 3. Food and coffee allowed during tests, exams and classes 4. The use of a calculator during tests and exams

5. Extensions for assignments of up to 2 weeks without penalty My family and I found someone who we payed, to drive me to and from school and was always around in the area to cover supervision, although there wasn't much food around as the program has its own building isolated from the other building of the campus where most food areas were.

About halfway through my 2nd year, the pandemic started and my program was on hiatus for 2 weeks before moving everything online. To my surprise, online was much better for me, as I could listen to the prerecorded lectures at my own pace, and I could re-listen to them if I was tired during the actual class. The advantage was also that I didn't have to study as hard as I could look at my notes during exams. However, this program is very skills oriented, and thus I was required to come to school 2-3 days to complete my labs in person.

There were 2 instances where I had to appeal my grade (one of the rights as a student) as I felt I was being graded unfairly compared to the other students; and in both instances, I won, which meant I didn't have to retake the class nor did I have to add a 5th year.

As part of the program, we are required to complete clinical care shifts at Seneca, and in the past year I had the pleasure of participating in a pilot program, where I was able to do some of my clinical care shifts at the Toronto Humane Society which is where I met a very sweet but shy cat, Gold Dust, during one of the enrichment sessions. He wasn't too keen about humans but when you sat far away enough from him and dangled a cat toy by his feet, he would play and try to catch it, as if it was a mouse.

As part of the final year of the program, students are required to search, find and secure a placement on their own and reach 224 hours of work within 7 weeks. I found a spot at VEC in Toronto. It's a 24 hour emergency and referral clinic that is never closed. After being offered a spot, my professor told them that I had a food related disorder and that extra supervision is required, to ensure that my supervisors knew, but were not alarmed (as many of you know that the minute someone searches PWS on the internet, it can be quite alarming). They were worried as it's quite a large clinic with over 150 staff; but they were willing to try it out for 2 weeks of 3 hour days, and by the 2nd week, I was already doing 5 hour days. At the start of my 3rd week I was there for 9h with a 30min-1h lunch break. At first, my parents would come pick me up and bring me home, but after 2 weeks, we decided I would take 30 minutes just to eat and then go back to work. VEC were very supportive throughout my placement.

Although I am now certified as a Vet Tech, I am hoping to pass The VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) in order to become and RVT (Registered Vet Tech). I am currently taking some time off and hoping to get a Job at VEC in October while studying for the exam.

I also own a bunny named Nugget, who I adopted just before the pandemic.

If you would like to know more about me, please click on the link to my speech at the OPWSA conference in 2019.


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