Being a Vegan @ Queens University of Charlotte

 

So honestly, I’m not going to lie and say being vegan during college is the easiest thing in the world but I will say that my University actually makes it a lot easier than other Universities.

 

I attend Queens University of Charlotte, located in North Carolina. They actually do label all of their vegan items in the cafeteria and you can look online to see if some of their staples are vegan. They have a soy milk bar, one with original soy milk and one for chocolate soy milk. When the cafeteria is lacking, I often resort to just getting their cereal because you can just look online to see which of their cereals are vegan.

 

The actual cooked meals section can be very weird. Some of the items are absolutely amazing and then sometimes it’s very questionable. They actually do have a vegan/ vegetarian section for core meals. This section often has some sort of tofu meal, sometimes curry and sometimes vegan chili. They make a lot of use of tofu, beans, and rice. I am not a huge spicy person so that has been my biggest issue in the cafeteria, often leading me to the salad bar or even just getting a bowl of cereal (usually, I’m getting a bowl of cereal, honestly.)

 

In the Gluten- Free section, they typically have some sort of red potatoes there which is actually my favorite thing at Queens. Randomly, it will be over seasoned or under cooked but that is a very random situation. They also randomly have vegan mashed potatoes which I get so excited about!

 

Breakfast is obviously a little different, but they always have some fruit that’s obviously vegan and oatmeal. My favorite thing that they have breakfast wise is their hashbrowns and randomly when there is an omelet section, I can beg the guy manning that machine to clean their machine and cook some mushrooms for me.

 

They have a salad bar with some really dressing (I love balsamic vinaigrette), they also have chickpeas, lettuce, and all of the other basics. They label everything in this section whether or not its vegan which is always fun! I would love for them to add mushrooms though.

 

They also have a decent deli where they have their breads labelled online and then all of their vegetables and things like that are obviously vegan. I would LOVE for them to add like grilled tofu or something, just to give me something like that and if they added it then my love would be amazing

 

I actually have an unlimited meal plan which allows me for 5 meal exchanges. So I can go to Lions Den or the Coffeehouse to get stuff there. The Coffeehouse is basically just an unofficial Starbucks so I can get their coffee, I just have to remember to add soy, coconut, or almond milk. As for the food section, they actually have hummus, peanut butter and jelly, and this quinoa sandwich thing.

 

The Lions Den is actually one of my favorite places to go because I am absolutely obsessed with their Garden Burger, which is this vegan burger that I can add grilled mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, and mustard. It’s my favorite thing at Queens and makes me so happy.

 

I do randomly get into a protein problem which is why I am so happy that the coffeehouse actually does have vegan protein bars and there is a Harris Teeter .6 miles away from campus that you can easily go to.

 

Overall, it’s definitely not the easiest thing. You’re going to be constantly battling your temptations when the cafeteria has a really decent thing but being a vegan at University is not an impossible task. It’s gotten easier over the semester as I learned that some of the cereals actually are vegan and I was introduced to Lions Den about midway through the semester. But if it’s something you’re passionate about then it is not hard. Plus, if you’re in a common vegan area, you can always try out some of the restaurants randomly which is something I definitely do every once in awhile.

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My Roommate for a Week?!

 

So I mentioned in the Emotional Support Animal Journey that I briefly had a roommate and I really just wanted to tell that story because I think it is so funny that this happened.

 

Before I begin telling this story, I am going to preface this story by explaining that we actually don’t have any bad blood. She seems pretty cool and while admittedly, she’s not exactly my kind of person to hang out with, I wish her luck in her journey.

 

Before moving in, she had actually reached out to me through Email and introduced herself or whatever and I sent a really long email in return, explaining things about me and Apple because I was not aware if she knew or not (they do eventually reach out to your roommate but they don’t explain why you have him and I wanted to explain that!)

 

She seemed pretty cool but I did immediately notice that we weren’t exactly similar in any way. She was a bit of a partier and definitely a social person which was made very apparent early on. There is nothing wrong with that, I literally don’t care but I just wanted to explain the situation.

 

I was admittedly surprised that we had been paired together, as we take a roommate quiz about our personalities and we were complete opposites. She hated the cold and wanted to change the temperature in our room the second she arrived to medium rather than high, which is fine and she didn’t mind that I used a fan but I was still really surprised that we had been paired together.

 

So she moved in on the 24th of August, I moved in on the 17th because of Thrive so I had the room to myself for an entire week. I had hung out in the room all day waiting for her because I didn’t want our interaction to be weird or anything and we talked while she unpacked and I met her parents. They made a lot of comments about the room being small, which is true because I am almost entirely sure that the room was originally a single that was turned into a double but it wasn’t my fault.

 

After that, we separated and didn’t really see each other for the rest of the day. We would see each other for brief moments but not for very long and it was pretty awkward in general. But for the most part, she was never in the room which is very, very different to me because I am almost always in the room but I actually really liked it. I got some alone time in the room which was very much needed and Apple got plenty of time out of the cage without me having to worry about it.

 

The only issue that came up was sometimes during the week, she lost her key so I kept having to let her borrow the key to get into the room and I would have to wake up to let her inside the room. Kind of annoying simply because I thought it was super inconsiderate, like you lost your key and I get that you don’t have time to look for it but are you really going to come in at 2am when this is happening?

 

Mind you, the situation didn’t last very long and on the 29th, she sent me a text explaining that she was moving out into another building because she loved the rooms, the showers, etc, etc. I was actually super excited because at this point, she had lost her key a few times and I had been letting her borrow my key meaning I would have to track her down whenever I wanted to get into the room myself.

 

Later that day, she started moving her stuff out of the room and I was actually leaving for the weekend so I told her she could borrow my key while I was gone to get the rest of her stuff out of the room. Mind you, she was supposed to have all out of it gone by the 31st but I figured I’d be nice and give her some extra time since she joined a sports team and was super busy.

 

You would think that if I gave you TWO extra days where you didn’t have to WORRY about me AT ALL then you would get all of the shit of the room? Well, you would think but then you would be wrong.

 

I came back around dinner time on Sunday and she had some of her stuff out of the room but there was still some stuff there and she gave me the key and explained she would get it out later that day.

 

Later that day… It didn’t happen. She never showed up.

 

She finally came either Tuesday or Wednesday and got the last of her stuff. So she lived in the room from the 24th to 29th (5 days) and then got her stuff out of the room on the 4th or 5th of September. (7 days later).

 

So yeah, that happened. My roommate that lasted for about two weeks if you include the time during where my room simply housed her stuff.

 

But hey, on a good note, I actually am getting a new roommate soon! She’s my best friend here on campus and one of my best friends in general so I’m really excited about that and BONUS? SHE LOVES APPLE.

Emotional Support Animal Journey

Please Note: This is my personal experience and journey in regards to having an Emotional Support Animal. My journey will not match yours or even a stranger’s journey and will be nothing similar to a Service Animal journey. I simply wanted to share what I did to get Apple approved to live on Campus with me.

 

Hello, so as many of you may know, I began attending Queens University of Charlotte this past August. Which has honestly been the cause of my lack of updating this blog. Which is ridiculous because I feel like I have so much to share with you guys. But I’ve realized that I never explained the process of getting an Emotional Support Animal approved to live on Campus.

 

The Journey

 

I knew from the beginning, during the college decision process that whatever school I decided to attend had to allow me to have Apple. Whether it was as a legitimate pet, I lived at home, or he was approved to be an ESA.

 

The first misconception that you should know about ESA’s: They do not have to receive a certification in order to be an ESA. Emotional Support Animals are exactly that- emotional support and they are very different from Service Animals. Websites like CertaPet and so much more can not guarantee that your pet will become an ESA.

 

My relationship with CertaPet is actually very weird. I had decided to start searching for routes to go that would allow me to bring Apple and I genuinely did believe that CertaPet could give you the ability to have an Emotional Support Animal on Campus. I ended up paying the absurd amount of money that they wanted after I took the test that told me that I qualified to have an Emotional Support Animal and I was set up with a meeting with one of the people that work for CertaPet and explained my situation.

 

Which I quickly learned that CertaPet doesn’t really work with colleges and institutions but with the help of the person that you’re set up with, will write a letter explaining your situation to apartment owners and other places that do not accept pets. Under certain laws, Emotional Support Animals are allowed to live with you as long as it is for a health reason. It is illegal not to allow you to live in an apartment simply because of your animal. However, it doesn’t work the same with Universities and Colleges and I was actually refunded by CertaPet due to this but I did start up an online correspondence with the Mental Health Professional that I was connected with.

 

She strongly believed that I qualified for an Emotional Support Animal and was willing to help me and explain the process to me in any way that she could.

 

A lot of this journey is directly related to Queens University. It may be different for every university but I emailed the head of the Disability Services and explained my situation. I had a meeting with him where he explained that I needed to provide documentation of my mental illness that also indicated that they believed I would be a good candidate for an emotional support animal.

 

The problem with this fact was that I had been diagnosed officially about a year ago with PTSD and a Generalized Anxiety Disorder that was brought on by PTSD. However, I no longer saw a Therapist as I struggled with communication during that time (and I am still apprehensive about it).

 

So when he asked for documentation, I emailed my past therapist and asked for my medical documents that indicated my official diagnosis and sent it to him.

 

His follow up question was asking if there was anyway that he could contact my therapist and talk to them. Under permission by the mental health professional that I met through CertaPet, I gave him my official Therapist’s name and number but that we no longer spoke and I no longer attended sessions and also gave him the name and number from CertaPet, explaining that they knew my situation better but that they were never an official therapist of mine.

 

After a few days, I received an email back that I had been approved for having an ESA.

 

The second misconception that you should know: ESA’s do not have to have official training to deal with your mental illness. They do not have to trained to notice and help you deal with your panic attacks or whatever other issue you have. They are simply meant to be an emotional crutch and do not require specialized training.

 

Apple actually does sense my panic attacks and knows to lay on my feet so that I can pick him up and allows me to hug him until I calm down. He has also been known to sense when I am about to have a panic attack. I believe it’s remarkable that he can do this but I imagine that it is because I have had issues with panic attacks since before I got him, and every time I was freaking out, I would grab him and hold him until I calmed down. I suppose he started notice signs when this was about to happen.

 

Something surprising? I was never asked if Apple was up to date on his rabies or ferret distemper shot. Right before I moved to Queens, I did go to the vet where he received both of these shots but I was surprised that I was never asked for documentation to prove this fact.

 

As for Apple’s life on Campus?

 

I try to take him out for daily walks unless it is raining or if I am too busy which allows him to meet and interact with a lot of the students on campus. He’s pretty popular and as I’m walking him, I often hear HIS name being called out from across campus. I think it’s safe to say that Apple’s pretty popular around here.

 

Misconception about Ferrets: Ferrets are capable of walking on a leash. Like all animals, they must be trained to do so and may not like it a whole lot due to the lack of freedom. But it is possible. However, they can not wear collars because if they’re head can fit through it then they can and collars don’t really work for them so you have to find a ferret harness which usually also comes with a leash! (I have like 3 leashes from attempts of trying to find Apple the right size since he’s so small.)

 

Otherwise, he just lives in his cage (which I upgraded to a ferret nation that is literally taller than me) and plays around in my dorm room. I originally had a roommate but that was a short lived experience (that I will explain very soon into the future) but I do plan on getting another one.

 

Where is Apple allowed to go?

 

Apple is allowed to be in my dorm, the hallways of my dormitory, and campus grounds. He, however, is not allowed to go into classrooms, the cafeteria, the coffeehouse, restaurants on campus, or other dorms. He is not a service animal and is not trained in a way that allows him to go to these places.

 

Can people pet him if they see him?

 

It is important to remember that ESA’s and service animals are very different from each other, especially in this situation. While Apple is not a pet, he is also not working when you see him around campus.

 

The reason why you can not pet a service dog is because it distracts them from their owner which can be very bad encase the person goes through an episode or situation and is need of their service animal.

 

While Apple does help me in many ways, the situation is not the same. Because of this, I do allow people to pet him. Partially because I love giving people the opportunity to experience petting a ferret and partially because Apple absolutely adores the situation. Unless I am dealing with something (and I would not be walking him if that was the case) then I don’t have a problem with people petting him or holding.

 

HOWEVER, it should be noted that this is my decision about how to handle the situation and other people might decide on something else. Allows ask if you can pet the animal, regardless of whether you know they’ll allow it because you never know. Do NOT get upset if they say no because there is a reason. Do not ignore their wishes, do not be rude, and simply accept their response.

 

If it is a service animal, please don’t even bother asking. The answer is no and the harness clearly says “DO NOT PET.” They are working and are not there for your enjoyment and neither are ESA’s however Service Animals are completely different and it is simply not allowed.

 


Follow Me on Social Media!

Facebook: Sabrina L. Ingram.

Instagram: @sheswritingmore

Twitter: @sheswritingmore

Apple’s Instagram: @apple_the_ferret

 


Other Posts Related to This?

My Future Plans

Ferrets: Truth, Myths, and Stories Alike!

I Am a Proud Mother of Apple – My Ferret

My Future Plans

 

I really wanted to share with you guys what will be happening in the next couple years as things will be changing in my life as I am graduating from High School in a matter of months.

 

I’d like to start off bragging about myself. Throughout my high school experience, I was involved in just about every single club at my school save for National Honors Society and Gamer’s Club throughout the four years.

 

Additionally, I published two novels. The White Butterfly, which was published in 2016, and chronicles the life of a girl going through a break-up (and my mom’s personal favorite) and The Girl in the Cage, which was behind a lot of drama before finally being published in late 2017.

 

While my ACT score was not impressive and my grades were less than sub-par, I was indeed accepted into quite a few schools come my senior year. Out of the six schools that I applied to, I was accepted into four of them with three of them offering a scholarship of some sort.

 

However, the most important thing to note was that I was accepted into Queens University of Charlotte for the fall semester of 2018. This had been a school that I had fallen in love with in my Freshman year of high school and had basically been my soul school. Where, regardless of what scholarship I got or whatever else, I could not go to a different school if I was accepted into Queens.

 

If it isn’t obvious enough, I accepted and have since paid for their enrollment deposit.

 

I will be attended Queens University as I go after my Bachelors in Creative Writing with a plan to minor in European History. A fact that very few may know that follow this website actively is that I have a deep desire to one day write historical fiction. I plan on pursuing my interests while going after what I truly love to do.

 

I have received some backlash by members of my family, as I will not be pursing some high pay job of being a surgeon or some sort of business person but honestly, my ultimate goal at this point in my life is to follow my passion, my goals, and to make my dream come true. It has always been important to me to ensure that my happiness and well- being is put above the amount of money that I make on a monthly basis.

 

I will, obviously, find jobs that I believe to be appropriate for me until the day that I can write exclusively for a living. Ideally this would entail a job where I would write for a website or something like that.

 

For those of you who are wondering about Apple (my ferret) , I will be explaining his journey and his future soon but don’t worry, none of it is bad, it is simply something that I would like to share with you on a separate day. He will obviously continue being in my life, though. He is way too important to me for this not to be the case.

 

Beyond my future in regards to university, I honestly have no idea. I know that I plan on travelling a lot and that I plan on moving OUT of North Carolina but beyond that, I’m just not quite sure.

 

Check out posts regarding writing:

Why Do I Write Romantic Tragedies?

Why Do I Write?

What I Want From My Readers

 

Check out posts regarding Apple:

I Am a Proud Mother of Apple – My Ferret

Ferrets: Truth, Myths, and Stories Alike!

 

Social Media!

Twitter: @ShesWritingMore

Apple’s Instagram: @apple_the_ferret

Instagram: @ShesWritingMore