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“I reached out to UCF Student Accessibility Service (SAS) when I was planning on coming back to UCF, and they were extremely helpful and accommodating. I think one of the nicest things about BHC was when I came back, I immediately felt very welcomed back which was hard to do when you had to stand 6 feet away from people. I think the first person I saw was actually Dean Pineres and Dean Dupuis. She just seemed genuinely excited to see me and that felt nice, and is one of the reasons I love the Honors College. It made me feel like I was back home.”

Isadore Nottolini, who goes by Izzy, is a graduating senior at the Burnett Honors College. He majors in Biomedical Science and aspires to become a physician. He was involved in a skiing accident in late 2019 and recounted his experience returning to UCF in October 2020.

“I’m not sure how my accident has changed my worldview. I think it has probably reinforced what I already felt. It definitely solidified my passion for medicine and helped me realize what it’s like to be in that field. I dealt with lots of doctors and had a bunch of surgeries and spent a lot of time in the hospital, as well as continually checking up with the doctors to monitor recovery. I guess one thing it made me realize is that you’re not invincible. Not that I ever thought I was, but I guess if nothing really bad had ever happened to you, you can kind of feel that way towards the world.

“There are some things different now than they were before, but I guess mainly it’s things that are due to covid. I can’t go to the gym and play basketball on the open courts. I can’t stand for as long as I used to, so when I TA I need to take a few breaks during the 4-hour lab. I used to study in the open areas in front of the Addition Financial Arena, too. But honestly, I don’t feel as limited by my disability as I do by wanting to be safe with covid.

“I have always loved being at UCF and had done so many things before my accident. I played a lot of basketball and intramural sports before covid. I was around the Honors College a lot to study and use the free printing. I was someone who never liked to miss class (and I still don’t like to miss class) so I would always show up in person and preferably 5 minutes early. I was a TA for Quantitative Biological Methods (QBM), I would go to research meetings in-person weekly and that’s something I actually miss is interacting with those professors and peers in person. My research PI, Dr. Erin Saitta, was always friendly and cared about how her researchers’ weeks were going, and I still feel that now but there’s something different about talking over zoom and seeing someone in person. Luckily I was able to come back and TA in person again this semester so that’s been really refreshing and rewarding.”