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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

School's Out!

            School's out!  School's out!  All done until August!  And, yes, I'm excited about it.

            Yesterday I took my ASL ii Final exam.  I think it went well enough.  I  don't know my grade yet  but I feel confident that I passed the course.  It doesn't totally matter.  I'm not taking the class for a grade.  Whether I get 98% or 71%, my grade will be entered as a "P."  That meant Perfectly Positive and Pretty -- or really, it means Pass.

            It amazes me how much work I've put into something that doesn't even count in the end.  I don't get a grade.  It doesn't reflect an overall GPA.   It  isn't required for a course program or a  degree.  Still, I work harder than anyone in that class.  It's who I am.  It's what I do.

            I view it two ways.  First, the class doesn't matter for me.  See the above paragraph.  No stress.  No sweat.  Why push myself for  nothing?

            Then there's the other side to it.   This class doesn't count for a grade or a  degree.  It's more important than that for me.  It counts for my life.  It's about better my own communication skills.  That's one of the most vital parts of a person's existence.  So, of course I work hard.  Who cares about a grade?  I'm doing this so I can communicate with the world.

            And now it's over for a little bit.  I made it through two semesters.   Oh, how far I've come!

            So as I stand here before you, my living audience, and hold this golden statue in my hand.... I want to thank all the little people who made this possible.  Without you, I could never have won this Emmy... or is it Grammy or Tony?  Whatever!

            Seriously, so many people have helped me  accomplish this goal.  I want to take the time to thank them all:

   My instructor who was so patient and accepted me as  one of the class.  He worked so hard on accommodations  so that I could do everything.  I wasn't given breaks.  He  expected the same of me and did what was needed to make it possible.  That means so much to me.

   The ASL Coordinator who came up with this crazy idea of me taking classes in the first place.  Despite the challenges I would present, she invited me in and gave me a chance.

   My two class interpreters and my note taker. 

            The ASL Mentors who worked with me in the lab.

            The upper level ASL students who practiced with me.  They helped me with the vocabulary and grammar.  I didn't have access to pictures in a book, the  practice DVD or internet videos.  These students  provided  a 3-D, tactile  mode of practicing concepts outside of class.  They also came  through in the end to provide extra  tutoring sessions when I was struggling to learn the last until.  I absolutely could not have done it without  their help.

   The other ASL ii students who worked as  my partner during classmates activities.   And my friends Andrea and Sheila who practiced with me, too.

   The bus drivers who occasionally got me to the right place at the right time.

   The staff of Student Accessibility Services who worked on my accommodations, arranged needed services, helped with registration and converted all texts books, handouts and Power Point slides to electronic format for me.

   My Deaf-Blind state trainer who provided extra practice with sign language, mobility and anything else I needed.  She also met  with my professor at the beginning of the semester to help him understand and adjust to my needs.

   The mobility teacher who got me started riding the bus and taught me how to find my classroom.

   The unnamed strangers who helped me find my way  in the building when I got lost.

   My father who called the transporation service  twice a week every week too book my rides... what a pain that must have been!

            My mother who watched JD  after school and got him started on his homework.  She also makes good dinners.

            So many people were  involved in this.  Together, they gave me the ultimate power -- knowledge.  I just want to thank you all.  I am very lucky to have so many good people pulling for me.  I so totally appreciate it.

            There's one last thing I'd like to say.  Just for the vent of it....  I spent five hours with my DB trainer and ASL iv students during the last week of classes.  They helped me  learn the signs for all fifty states and about as many countries.  This was not an easy task because most have multiple signs.  So what happens?  There were only three states and one country on the entire  final exam.  That's college for you.

            It's only May.  In the midwest, it's chilly and raining.  There's not a beach or sunray in sight.   But for me, it's now summer break.  Whoo Hoo!



  1. Hi, I really enjoyed reading your blog. I work for a deafblind NGO in the UK and I find your writing very inspiring. How do you find networking on line? For example do you find Facebook accessible at all? Or do you know of any online community of young deafblind people? look forward to hearing from you.

  2. Congratulations! Enjoy your summer.