Have you ever sat in the nosebleeds in the Smith Center during a basketball game? Odds are, if you’re an unlucky student like me, the answer is yes. Have you ever noticed the flashes of light that emanate from these huge bulbs on the ceiling?
I’m not talking about the lights flashing from people’s phones during the pre-game pump up. I’m talking about huge flashes of light from huge bulbs on the ceilings. Maybe you’ve noticed, or maybe you haven’t, but I certainly have, and I notice them every time I go to a home basketball game.
For me, noticing flashing lights is a part of my everyday life. I notice when the fluorescent light in my philosophy class flickers, I notice when headlights flash through the dividers on a highway and I notice when these huge bulbs flash on the ceiling in the Dean Dome.
See, I’m epileptic. I was diagnosed with epilepsy my junior year of high school, after I had a huge grand mal seizure during Latin class. Ever since, I’ve taken anticonvulsants twice a day, seen a neurologist every six months and been hyper-vigilant about things that could trigger a seizure. Luckily for me, my epilepsy is really well controlled, and I’m not super photosensitive, i.e. lights don’t bother me too much.
Even though my epilepsy is well-controlled, it’s still a disability. I had to register with Accessibility Resources & Service as a first-year, and I have to indicate my epilepsy on job applications. And, when thinking about the lights at basketball games and other events on campus, I couldn’t help but wonder if there were other students at UNC who exclude themselves from these activities because they were sensitive to the lights.