Q&A with Angelique Long, whose disabilities have inspired a life of service
Get to know our students, and you’ll know what UMKC is all about.
Why did you choose UMKC?
I transferred to UMKC because my family and I decided that it was time for me to move back to Kansas City after spending nearly three years in Boston. UMKC seemed like a good fit for me because it was not only extremely affordable but also extremely accessible, which were both very important to me because I don’t drive.
Why did you choose psychology?
I am studying psychology, and healing and humanities because I want to eventually work as a pediatric health psychologist and work with kids with chronic health issues or in palliative/hospice care.
I believe that I have a special calling in my life to work with children with disabilities. I have always known that I have wanted to work with children in some capacity, even when I was a child myself.
I think that having disabilities myself puts me in a unique position to help others with disabilities, in ways that those that haven’t been through it themselves can’t do. I have physical disabilities (pseudotumor cerebri, when the pressure inside your skull increases for no obvious reason) and learning disabilities including, ADHD.
Tell us about being an ally for others with disabilities.
I’m not ashamed to openly talk about my disabilities. My friends text me, and I share advice and encouragement. Sometimes even getting to and from class can be hard for people. I know it can be for me.
You’re a mentor for UMKC’s Propel program for young adults who have intellectual developmental disabilities. What’s that like?
I really enjoy spending time with the Propel students. I’ve loved watching them learn who they are as students at UMKC, but also as people. I also love watching their faces when they learn something for the first time. That look is one of the most rewarding things I can receive.
Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?
I have learned that I can’t compare myself to other students. I am not fighting the same battles they are. Yes, it is taking me longer than them. Yes, it is harder for me. But, that’s okay. They aren’t coming from the same place as I am.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor?
Be the person you needed as a child.
What do you admire most about UMKC?
I really love that there is place for everyone at UMKC. I feel at home here, and that is not really something I can say about very many places. The faculty and staff advocate for their students and have been mostly open and supportive of me. There is literally a club and organization for everything. If you want an on-campus job, you can find one. I have two. This is literally the place for people going places.
Are you a first generation college student?
Yes. I didn’t really know there was much of a difference between first generation college students and other students until I moved away for school. My parents taught me if I wanted something bad enough, I’d find a way to get it myself. I have filled out every FAFSA and application myself. I have picked every class and done all my homework on my own. That’s not to say my parents didn’t care. They just knew that if I wanted it bad enough, I would do it. They knew it would mean more to me if I worked for it. So, for me, being a first generation college student means working harder and maybe longer than other students.
What’s your greatest fear?
My biggest fear is being unable to work. I think anyone with student loans fears this a little, especially those with disabilities. But, I work really hard every day to lead a normal life and I will do this for as long as I can.
From across the country and around the world, our students come together in Kansas City to study business, medicine, theatre and more than 100 other academic areas. Roos become leaders in their fields and give back to their communities.