Recently, a sighted friend at my college asked me how I was able to navigate campus with a blindness cane better than they could without one. I have gotten lost several times on campus, but I have found that having important campus addresses input into my phone, as well as memorized, has helped me tremendously with learning to navigate. Here are the fifteen addresses I keep immediately for reference. This is also a great list of places to go over during orientation and mobility instruction.
General campus address
While this isn't very useful for navigating around campus or getting to a specific location, having the general address is helpful when trying to find where campus is, or for filling out forms that ask for a generic address.
This is your home away from home, and it's very important to know how to get there. There is a huge sign in the lobby of my building with the address, which is necessary for contacting emergency services. It's good to have a list of instructions on how to locate the dorm- for example, 1411 is located on the fourth floor, right side, next to the trash room.
Whenever the fire alarm goes off, I often navigate to neighboring buildings so I don't have to deal with the flashing lights. I also put down my delivery address for Amazon PrimeNow and Amazon Fresh as a neighboring building, as it is easier to locate those buildings from the street.
I frequented the dining halls so often my freshman year that my phone recognized the dining hall address as my "home." It's very important to be able to find food, as well as navigate the halls themselves.
This is in the same building as a student center, but I have found myself getting lost several times when walking here. Having the exact location of the office is also helpful if it is a large building- though from my experience, staff are likely to notice a lost-looking person with a blindness cane and show them where Disability Services is. Learn how to create a file here.
Locked out? Learn how to walk to the neighborhood desk both with and without a blindness cane. Half of the time I've been locked out, my blindness cane has been in my room. The neighborhood desk also has free rentals for items like DVD players, board games, cleaning supplies, and rolling carts.
Yes, libraries have so much more than just print resources! It's a common meeting place for students and study groups, too. The library often has free rentals for technology and quiet study environments, as well as assistive technology resources.
Knowing how to get to class is extremely important. I write out building addresses, followed by directions to get to the classroom. A lot of my professors keep the door open before class and listen for my blindness cane, or watch to make sure I make it to class. One professor started doing this after they noticed I would constantly walk by the classroom when trying to locate it.
While having my major's department location is helpful, I have benefitted a lot more from having the address for my advisor's office. My advisors have helped me frequently with navigating to other buildings, especially in mediocre weather conditions. My advisor also has my dorm building name written down in case they have to help me navigate back to my apartment.
I have had many band performances inside the stadium, and many school events are also hosted there. Some examples include freshman welcome week, concerts, graduation, department events, speeches, and sports events.
Dorms of friends
Knowing how to get to dorms of friends is great for when a friend can't come meet you outside your dorm. I keep a mix of addresses, both for buildings close to me and further away. I also keep one address for an off campus friend that I can access in case of emergency.
Another popular gathering place, I often navigate to the student center for club meetings, food, and for meeting friends. I would say I'm probably there 3-4 times a week.
The mailing address for packages is often different than the general or dorm address. Make sure to write this down so you are able to order items online, as well as instructions on how to get to the post office.
Nearest parking garage
While I don't drive, I give this address to visitors so they are able to easily find parking. It's important to be able to walk there for escorting guests around campus, or for making trips to and from the car.
Being able to navigate off campus is almost as important as navigating on campus. I keep the bus stop addresses, as well as their neighboring buildings, with a large print copy of the bus schedule.
I programmed all of these addresses as contacts in my phone so I can use Google Maps for walking directions. I also have the information stored on my iPad and other electronics. I found the addresses on a public document published by the college. This has been a fantastic resource in helping me make sure I don't get lost every day....just every few days.