My Story tied in to Give to Lincoln Day

May 16, 2013

I frequently talk about the fact that I am involved with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), and the Nebraska Association of Blind Students (NABS.) However, I don’t often talk about why I give so much of my time to this organization.

Most of you know that I grew up blind. I was lucky. My mom was blind, and I don’t think my dad treated me any differently than he would have treated a sighted kid. I had a chance to learn things like how to cook as a blind person, and whether I liked it or not I was expected to do chores just like the rest of my friends. More importantly, I had a role model who proved to me that blind people could be successful, that they could have jobs they enjoyed and families they loved. I had teachers who taught me to read Braille, and who held me to similar expectations as my sighted peers.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the reality for lots of blind kids in the United States today. Some statistics say that only 1 out of every 10 blind kids in America is being taught Braille. The others are told that audio textbooks and synthetic speech will be good enough to get them by. Many blind people grow up believing that the best job they can expect to get after high school is at a sheltered workshop, where they can legally be paid less than minimum wage. During my summers working with blind youth I have met teenagers who didn’t know how to tie their shoes, who had never been to the restroom unaccompanied, and who believed that they would spend their lives after high school in a nursing home simply because they were blind. And I have seen these students’ opinions about themselves and blindness in general change after spending a summer surrounded by other blind people, many of whom are in college or looking for jobs having graduated with advanced degrees.

I’ve been involved with the NFB for around 7 years now, and I’ve seen us do incredible things. We’ve worked with parents to ensure their children are taught to read. We’ve provided programs in over fifteen states to expose blind children to the joy of reading through Braille. We have fought against discriminatory employment practices and seen qualified blind employees excel in careers from lawyers to teachers to doctors. We have worked with organizations like Apple and Blackboard to ensure blind students like me have access to the same educational technology as our classmates. And, we have secured the right of blind parents to continue raising their children when social services have removed them solely because the parent was blind (and we have done this more than once).

None of the things I’ve described would be possible without financial contributions, and every little bit helps. Today, May 16th, is the Lincoln Community Foundation’s Give to Lincoln Day. A day in which all received donations are proportionally matched from a $200,000 grant. I ask that if you have a little disposable income that you consider contributing to the National Federation of the Blind of Nebraska’s campaign.
The funds raised today will go toward programs in the Lincoln, Nebraska area. This year, one of those programs will be a joint seminar being conducted by NABS and the Nebraska Commission for the Blind. A seminar where we will give blind college students tools to help them succeed.
More importantly though, we will expose them to positive blind role models, and the attitude that they can be successful and go far in life.
For more information, please visit
http://j.mp/g2lnfbn.

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Totally Accessible

November 16, 2012

It’s been an interesting day, and one of those days that reminds me what a different view of the world I have than some of the people who came before me and fought so I can have all the things I take for granted.

Fatos Floyd, a member of the NFBN Lincoln chapter and director of our training center here in Nebraska, has filed a complaint against our local election office. She wanted to take advantage of the early voting that is offered in Nebraska, but when she called she was told the automark wouldn’t be available for several more days. We passed a resolution about this at our recent state convention, and today there was a hearing on the matter. Lots of people testified, as people are want to do at these things, and I admit that I was largely bored. But a part of me was thinking, we already fought for the right to vote privately and independently. Are we maybe asking for a bit much here? Most of me believes, knows, that we should have equal access. But there was that tiny voice in the back of my head.

Tonight I went to start on a paper that’s due Monday. (I know, shocking isn’t it?) It’s the third in a series of five papers I have to write after raising a virtual child on the internet. I was pretty apprehensive at the beginning of the semester because I figured that the raising of the actual child would turn out to be inaccessible, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could raise the thing independently. In another shocking turn of events, I decided to fully raise the child. It was my attempt to be proactive and not have as much to worry about when it came time to write this next paper. However, when I logged in and went to review the decisions I’d made while raising my child I discovered that this part of the program was inaccessible. (Tony messed around with it and says it should be better if I upgrade to JAWS 14.) Even so, I had that panic moment of “Oh my god how am I going to write this paper?!” followed by the muttered, “Half-assed accessibility sucks.”

And then it hit me. That little voice that had whispered in my head earlier this afternoon that maybe we were asking for just a little too much needed to shut up. Because this is what it looks like when we don’t ask for it all. 90% accessible does not equal accessible enough. I have the right to be able to review something I’ve done online for school. And Fatos has the right to vote when she wants to, and to get to do so privately and independently. That’s why the NFB is as powerful as it is. My email to Pearson might get a response, but I feel a whole lot more powerful with an organization as big as the Federation behind me. It’s easy to say that one thing or another doesn’t matter as much to us, or that it doesn’t really apply to where we are in our individual lives. But if we want people to stand behind us when it comes time to fight our giants, we have to be willing to support them while they fight theirs.

Play Signals

October 22, 2012

Today in class we talked about friendships and play in young kids. Yep, I get to go to class and learn about play. (It’d be that much better if we could have some practical experience, but you can’t have it all.) One of the things we talked about is the fact that play is a child’s way of learning social competence. When kids play, they learn to read social cues, called play signals, that they’ll be building on or the rest of their lives. We went on to talk about the fact that adults aren’t good judges of what’s really happening on a playground. They are not always good at judging whether kids are playing or fighting, and as a society we have started to lean toward protecting our kids from all conflict possible, including conflict in play. As an example, the Lincoln Public Schools won’t let kids lay tag on the playground, because they don’t want them getting hurt and they don’t want there to be bullying or conflict on the playground. My professor, who has done a good bit of research in this area, said that because we’re taking away so much of the conflict in children’s’ early play they’re not learning to read some of those play signals. Consequently, they’re less socially competent and confident as they get older.

For as long as I’ve been working summer programs I’ve seen blind students who lack social skills. I imagine a lot of it is because they didn’t learn to read these play signals as children, either because they weren’t invited to play by kids their own age or because they were overprotected by their parents. They never had the opportunity to learn that when someone runs up to you, taps your shoulder, and says “tag, you’re it” they’re inviting you to play and not being aggressive or mean. But now this is something that society is seeing as a whole. So my question is, are there ways to help kids catch up on those social skills they miss out on? In particular, how can we help our blind kids fill in these social gaps and learn to read the play signals?

Media and Outreach

September 20, 2012

Today was World Day on the Mall in Lincoln, which was really more like “World Day in the Arena” since Centennial Mall is under construction. A couple of us put together a little slide show, and we brought our usual brochures and other things to help illustrate that blind people are pretty much the same as everyone else, and spent our requisite 4 hours at the table.

I was all kinds of excited, because events like this always bring out some of the best “how do blind people do this” questions. I was sadly disappointed this time; no one asked me how I go to the bathroom, and no one even asked if blind people have sex. (True story, can’t make this stuff up.) And, while Kayde’s dog did get lots of attention, no one asked if she can read signs or if she has a boyfriend. But I didn’t go home empty handed.

This guy came up to the table and says that he saw us on the bus yesterday. This is impossible, since I didn’t leave my house yesterday and definitely didn’t take the bus, but I understand that time sometimes blurs together so I’m not sure if he saw us on the bus on a different day or a different set of blind people on the bus yesterday. Regardless, he took a Kernel Book and started talking to us. It was all pretty normal stuff, until, “So do blind people have a designated religion?” There are just so many things I could have said, had this guy not been one of those nice old men who just doesn’t know. The first thing that came to mind was, “Do blonds have a designated religion?” closely followed by Kayde’s suggestion, “Yes, we must all practice Braillism.” But I had absolutely no fun with it and told the guy that I’d met blind people who were Muslims, Jews, and Christians.

One thing that World Day on the Mall reminded me about was what a diverse community Lincoln is. I saw at least two groups of people who spoke Chinese, and got to explain to them about Braille. I also saw at least one Spanish speaking woman, and it was neat that one of our Latina friends, who happened to be working at a table directly across from us, was there to help explain things and give her a positive impression of blind people. It did make me wish we had some materials out in other languages, and I’m making a mental note to ask my state president about ordering some materials from the NFB in Spanish, at the very least.

The other thing that preparing for this event brought home to me was just how much we don’t do with the media we have as an organization. I’m guilty of it too, we take all these pictures and they get buried on our personal cameras never to be seen again. If we’re really ambitious the pictures might make it onto Facebook, or into a folder on our personal computers or the servers at the national office. But, as far as I know, we really don’t have a lot of good material put together for events like this. Most of the videos we have are designed to be played for our members, or obvious prospective members. As many cool things as the Youth slam videos highlight, they’re each at least 15 minutes long. They’re not designed to catch someone’s attention as they’re walking by a table. I would love to see us put together a PowerPoint of pictures from events we have, particularly on a national level. Things like Youth Slam could have a PowerPoint that was prepackaged and could be downloaded from the website. Ideally this would contain some of the cool pictures we get, along with captions so they meant something to the blind people manning the table, along with short video clips showing blind people participating in these awesome programs. Another option would be to have a database containing all the pictures, again with captions, and videos we get from these events. Members could be given access upon request, and we could build our own presentations from there. This has the advantage of allowing members to tailor a presentation to an event, but it does mean that putting together the presentation would take a fair bit more time and effort since there would be thousands of videos and pictures to dig through. Honestly, I think the best option would be a combination of prepackaged presentations and access to individual pictures for those of us who want to make presentations for a specific event. But, whatever solution we go with, I think we need to do something to beef up our outreach efforts and grab attention. We have all these awesome events we put on, and so much innovative stuff we’re working on, and I would love to see us have the ability to share that with the general public in a way that’s engaging for them.

Inaugural Braille Chat – Thursday, August 23, 2012

August 31, 2012

The awesome Natalie Shaheen, who’s one of those teachers who never seems to run out of ideas, came up with the idea of having a twitter chat for teachers of blind students. I was a little skeptical at first. I like to talk, I like to debate, and I couldn’t figure out how any of this would be affective in 140 characters or less. However, I’ve been proven wrong, and once again seen that social media is awesome! I’ve been able to participate in the #brlchat for the last two weeks, and I’ve learned tons and been introduced to lots of other teachers that are going to serve as fabulous resources for me as I go through school and start a career. I was going to write down the stuff I learned for myself, but then thought that other people who weren’t able to participate might like all of these resources in one place. So, here we go.

The first week’s topic was ways to make Braille fun for students of all ages. It’s something that’s always kind of broken my heart, seeing students come into summer programs who’ve had no interest in Braille because their teachers have made it seem like something to dread. Natalie’s first suggestion was to incorporate students’ interests into your teaching. If they’re sports junkies, let them read a sports magazine or a football roster. If they love music, go onto Google and print out song lyrics, or facts and articles about their favorite artists. Natalie says, “Using short interesting articles or blog posts is great for older kids learning Braille 2 keep them motivated & feeling like they are accomplishing.” Domonique says, “I like to have students use contraction, word, and concept sorts. With these activities they read & learn sorting & organization.” I had to ask for some clarification on this one, and she told me that she writes up words or contractions and then has students put them in different piles or sections. Someone might sort seasons, etc. She does note, “Make sure that if you are making sorts or card games that you cut a corner of the card for orientation purposes.”

Natalie also says, “Braille twister is lots of fun for working on memorizing dot patterns.” Braille Twister involves creating life size Braille cells by using your hands, feet, and other body parts to make letters/contractions.” Casey said, “I like to include games such as Braille twister, Braille go fishing, file folder games. Etc.” Natalie suggested that teachers and kids could make puzzles for each other, which works on other skills along with Braille. Older kids could also make puzzles for younger ones. I’ve also played cards in Braille class, especially with high school students. I’m no card shark, but they love the chance to teach me games they already know. Natalie also said that she knew people in Ohio who had a Jeopardy game with Braille contraction usage questions. Brooke says, “We did a Braille bee where everyone was given a study guide for a week so that students had an equal chance. Our newest student won the bee because she memorized all the contractions.” I also love Natalie’s Braille musical chairs idea, where each chair has something in Braille on it and students have to read what’s on the chair they land in. What a great way to keep students up, moving, and interacting with their environment.

A few different teachers suggested communicating with students during, or outside of class, in Braille. Natalie suggested having a conversation with students in Braille, letting them talk about whatever they want but having them write it all down. Eric suggested fractured fairytales as a great way to promote literacy for all kids. Natalie also said that texting or chatting with students using contractions is a fun way to get them interested. (As a random side note, I do this all the time with my friends and it shortens my texts a lot!)

As Natalie pointed out, “cooking with Braille recipes is always fun too!” Domonique says, “Have kids write out grocery list for a Braille recipe. Then have them make m&m cookies or cupcakes. Make contractions with the candy.” Casey says, “One of my students loves to bake and decorate cakes with candy dots making Braille messages.” We did something similar to this in Nebraska when we held our BELL program, and the kids loved it. (I loved it too, but that was partly because I got to eat the skittles.) Next time I have a student with a birthday, I’m totally going to make time to make a cake that says “happy birthday” in M&M Braille.

One of the things I liked most about the whole chat was teachers’ willingness to let their students see them under sleepshades. Kelly says, “I have students make a scavenger hunt for me. Complete with Braille directions tactile map and sleep shades,” and, “As a sighted person I put on the sleep shades and have the kids teach me their favorite contraction. Love to c their different styles.” She also says, “I race all my students writing the alphabet on the slate & stylus. Then we race writing numbers, drawing pictures, etc…they choose.” When I was growing up I never had a teacher who seemed like they knew the slate and stylus well, and that included the blind Braille teacher I had, so that was especially impactful for me.

Lots of resources were suggested. Eric and Krystal say, “Fun with Braille from the American Printing House for the blind is a great resource.” Casey says she likes “Adapting the exceptional teaching aid’s “Hot Dots” to Braille. Kids love it.” Kelly says, “Quiddler is a great game for Braille, spelling, nemeth and dare I say it…abacus.” If you’re like me and hadn’t ever heard of Quiddler, you should check it out, it looks fun.

I always liked reading books about blind kids in Braille. Kelly suggested Girl, Stolen, by April Henry. This one’s available from NLS, Bookshare, or in print from amazon.com. I downloaded it, and when I find time to read for pleasure I’m gonna give it a try.

Kelly is in the process of adapting Scrabble into Nemeth to, “help students learn math facts.” I think this would be awesomely fun, and I really hope she’ll share her secrets. Natalie suggested Sudoku as a fun way to work on numbers, too. I’ve seen this done a few different ways. I saw a plastic sort of board with squares you can set numbers into, I’ve heard of people using magnetic numbers on a magnet board, and you could also use basic tactile graph paper for something that’s only going to be used one time.

You can also make Braille art. Serina says, “I teach adults and find it fun to use Drawing with Your Perkins Brailler.” I just ordered this book from Perkins Products and I can’t wait to try it out. Barbara has also created art using a BrailleLight and a Blazer embosser, which is super cool. And I was absolutely enthralled a couple of years ago when Natalie pulled out a Janice slate and stylus and started to doodle. She made a train and a pumpkin, and to this day I have no idea how she really did it but they were some of the coolest things I’ve ever seen!

Regardless of the techniques they use, everyone who participated in the chat agreed that our attitudes as teachers impact student’s willingness to learn. Sighted students are encouraged to love reading, to love literacy, and to see it as something exciting and new. Blind students should be offered the same opportunities, and taught with the same positive attitude. It makes all the difference.

**note: I changed some quoted tweets very slightly by translating commonly used internet abbreviations into whole words and in some cases complete sentences.**

Attachment Theory and Older Children

August 31, 2012

In the past, it’s been very rare that I’ve read articles for class and had past experiences come to mind. However, after reading the article on attachment theory, I immediately thought of one of the students I had last summer.

I should probably explain the program before I go much farther. The idea of the program was to teach blind students skills for independence. Blind adults, many of whom are college students, are hired to teach things like how to travel around independently using a long white cane, how to cook, how to read Braille, and how to use a computer. Students come and live with us in a specific location, usually in apartments on a college campus or something like that, for the duration of the program. Last summer I worked with middle school kids, and that program lasted 3 weeks. There are also programs for high school students that last between 6 and 8 weeks, which also give the students a chance to hold a part time job and get some experience to put on their resume.

John was one of the more challenging students I’ve worked with in programs like these. He was terrified of things like sirens and weed whackers, largely due to traumatic experiences when he was a young child. This made the program difficult for him, particularly since we were living on a college campus in one of Baltimore’s suburbs where sirens passing was an every day occurrence. John and I walked around outside almost every day, and he would freeze exactly where he was if he heard a siren anywhere near by. John also had a great deal of trouble managing his emotions, which often resulted in him lashing out in anger. At the time I realized that the anger was a way for him to deal with other emotions he wasn’t sure how to handle, and I found a couple of occasions to sit down and talk to him one-on-one. By the end of the program John and I had developed what I would consider to be a close relationship. When he was upset or frightened, he would come to me, and was willing to try talking things through with me.

This semester I’m taking a class that’s talking about families, and the different types of relationships formed in different families. (It would be a really interesting class if the teacher wasn’t so monotone, but that’s neither here nor there.) For class this week we were assigned an article that talked about a program called Through the Looking Glass. It was a program for children ages 1-3, and involved care providers as well as parents. Basically, when the children were at daycare, they were assigned one person who would be their primary caregiver. This person was with them for things like diaper changing, meal time, and play time. It wasn’t that kids weren’t exposed to other people, but they had that specific person to come back to as a sort of home base. The idea was that if the kids were secure in knowing they had someone to come back to, they would gradually be more willing to go out and explore things on their own. The primary care giver also formed a relationship with the child’s parents so that expectations and consequences could be the same at home and at daycare.

Reading the article brought to mind an experience John and I shared in the last week of the program. We were coming back from somewhere and were almost home when we came upon someone trimming weeds in the parking lot. With my encouragement, John was willing to keep walking, despite the fact that he was terrified. Sure, it took a lot of me reminding him that I knew he could do it, but he eventually managed. Thinking about this experience made me wonder if there are ways we could use attachment theory to help some of our older students thrive. In many ways we’re asking them to learn things their sighted peers learned as much younger children. Consequently, I’m wondering if using an approach similar to that described in the article might help our students go farther. Maybe rather than having three or four different people working with everyone we should have one adult assigned to work with two or three students. That adult would teach them during class time, and also help them after hours with things like cooking meals and socialization.

I’m not sure this is the answer, and I realize it has its own problems, especially when you consider that a female staff member can’t live with male students, and vise versa. Still, I would be interested to hear what others think. Has anyone tried anything like this before?

Quickdraw

August 26, 2012

Talk to anyone who knows me really well and they’ll tell you, I’m fairly fashion clueless. My best friend, who is a guy, has way better fashion sense than I ever will, and can tell me what color pink complements the pink dress I’m planning to wear, and whether black or silver shoes are the way to go. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a complete idiot, and once things have been explained to me I generally remember and can manage to get myself put together without asking questions about every single outfit. And, I like to think I have a basic idea about what one should or should not wear. My mom tried to give me a good basic foundation, and she taught me what questions to ask to find out what the styles were for that season. There were a number of fashion statements brought to my attention during my late elementary school early middle school years. Half my wardrobe had sequins or glitter attached, and I owned countless little flower and butterfly clips in numerous colors which I used to keep the four little twists of hair I pulled back in place. Mostly these were things my blind mom saw in the store, heard about from friends’ moms, or talked over with my “vision teachers.” I went along with the clothes, partly because I liked them and partly because I wanted to fit in.

I recently came across a “fashion accessory” that I was really hoping wasn’t worn by anyone outside of high school (and only then if you were begging for your daily swirly.) Back in fifth or sixth grade my teachers suggested another addition to my wardrobe; they wanted me to wear a cane holster. The theory was that it would be a way for me to keep track of my cane while I was running around with my friends in gym class or recess. I never went for it, partly because I didn’t want to wear belts all the time, and I like to think partly because I knew it would make me stand out like a sore thumb. And yet, as a grown woman, I ran across the cane holster in the course of my summer job.

Let me take just a minute and describe the cane holster. It looks a lot like a gun holster, six to eight inches long and made out of leather. It’s black, and you wear it on a belt. It’s the perfect size for one of those traditional folding canes, and the idea, I guess, is that you can fold your cane up and stick it in there for easy access.

The person I met this summer who wore one happened to be female, though I don’t think it would be any better if a blind man was wearing one of these things. She was getting ready to enter the workforce as a teacher of blind students. Though we had our differences in philosophy and teaching methods, I generally liked and respected her and thought she wanted the best thing for her students. So the fact that she wore a cane holster confused me. First off, it’s black, and only black. Is she going to wear the black cane holster with brown shoes, or on a brown belt? And speaking of belts, I guess she’s always going to wear one? Which means no cute little dresses or skirts, which seem to be fairly in fashion these days especially in the spring and summer. At least I hope it means she’s not going to wear dresses or skirts, because I can’t stomach the thought of someone wearing a belt over those.

The other thing that confused me was the fact that she actually seemed to realize that the holster wasn’t cool. She said things like, “I always have to wear a belt,” and made comments that made me think she knew this wasn’t really the normal thing to do. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t go out of my way to avoid “looking blind” any more. I no longer wear sunglasses to try to hide my eyes, and I use my long white cane with pride. I’m comfortable in my own skin. But somehow this feels different to me, closer to the dark sunglasses end of things.

Maybe I’m just missing something here, some little fashion thing that actually makes this okay. If so, please feel free to point it out to me. But if not, do professionals really think this is okay for our blind kids? Is this how people think we’re going to teach our blind kids to fit in? If you’re going to insist on teaching the short heavy folding cane, can’t we at least teach kids to put it in a backpack or purse if they want to have it up and out of the way? Why do we need to wear something to make us look different?

Playing catch-up yet again

June 14, 2009

Its long past midnight, and I promised myself I was going to be in bed early tonight. With the insanity of Kelly’s going away party, plus still getting used to working an 8-5 work day, and starting the 6 days a week work schedule later today I really should be sleeping. But most of the people are on VT tonight, and its been a while since I talked to many of them. And I’ve been meaning to write something for a while.
I finished my second year of college, and moved out of Selleck. This summer I’m going to be working as a counselor for the WAGES program, which is a program for blind high school students in Nebraska, on weekends. During the week I’ll be doing an internship at the Nebraska Center for the Blind, helping teach everything from Braille to computers, and learning a good bit while I’m at it.
I spent the past two weeks in training for the WAGES job, and I got a tiny taste of what center life is like. I got to have my first ever shop class. I’ve learned to use the clickrule, which is what blind people use to measure in place of a tape measure, and I’ve used the radial arm saw independently with a reasonable degree of success. (My board was about 1/32 of an inch off of what I intended, I thought that was pretty good for the first attempt.) I’ve also had travel lessons, and I got lost going around the block. All of this has made me realize just how much I have yet to learn, and it made me more confident in some of my recent decisions.
I’ve decided to attend the Louisiana Center for the Blind. I talked to the director, and I’ll be starting in August, after I’ve wrapped up my summer responsibilities. I’m a little nervous, but mostly excited. I’ve never been away from home for this length of time, and I’m looking forward to experiencing a different part of the country and meeting new people. I know I’m going to learn lots, these people really know what they’re doing, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about the center.
That’s the short version of things, but I really do need to get to bed so I can look presentable later today. I’ll try to post more regularly though, and tell some stories.

Its been a while

July 28, 2008

I’m trying to remember why I thought I would be better at writing in this than I am at writing in my journal, and failing miserably. The fact is, I’d just as soon tell all of you what’s going on in my life personally. But I’m sitting here tonight, and for some strange reason I’m in the mood to write. So, let’s play catch-up, shall we?

I finished my freshman year of college, and loved it. I made friends, who I can’t wait to see in less than a month.

And I took a summer job at the national center in Baltimore. I’m a counsilor/teacher for the Teen Empowerment Academy. Its a summer training program where blind high school students get training in blindness skills, as well as getting some actual work experience. I started out the summer teaching cooking, then switched to Braille after convention due to some staffing changes. As much as I enjoyed being in the kitchen all day I think I’m better suited to teaching Braille. And I don’t miss the constant dish washing, either!
This summer has also provided some great laughs. Its a shame we haven’t caught more of this on film, we’ve had some moments that could win us some money on America’s Funniest Home Vidios. And there have been plenty of absolutely amazing quotes, too.
I can honestly say it hasn’t been the summer I expected. Part of that is the stuff that I knew but simply wasn’t prepared for, like how atatched I am to my kids. They went camping last week and I stayed in Baltimore because I was sick the day they left. I couldn’t believe how much I missed them, or how happy I was to see all of them when they got home tonight. I wasn’t truely prepared for some of the challenges of teaching either. There are days when I wonder who is actually doing the teaching, me or my students. But watching a girl, who didn’t know any braille when she arrived, be able to read and write the entire alphabet in Braille is an amazing feeling, and that feeling helps balance things out when I want to strangle students for refusing to read.

I can’t believe its almost over. There are already songs or phrases that remind me of this place, and I haven’t even left yet. I’ll never be able to hear Semi-charmed Life without remembering Sean singing kareoke at the Lighthouse, or listen to “Good Morning Baltimore” without remembering the two students who had that as their alarm for at least the first 6 weeks of the program.

Everyone says that growing up isn’t easy, and I think its safe to say this has been a growing summer for me. I’ve made new friends, and grown closer to old friends. And I’ve realized, more than ever, how lucky I am to have so many people around me who I love and who love and support me.

As crazy as things get around here I’m not going to promise to update more regularly. But at some point I will try to sit down and write up some of the most entertaining stories from this summer.

And now I’m going to go get some sleep. Classes start at 8:00 sharp tomorrow morning. Summer vacation? What’s that?

Only in College

November 8, 2007

Coming to college is basicly like entering a new world, or so it would appear.
Only in college will you find an almost grown man wearing footy pajamas to English class, and doing so proudly because in his words, “They’re flame retardant!”
Only in college can you open your window at midnight and hear music majors singing in Latin. Only here would a group of people get together and sing that beautifully for no apparent reason other than the fact that they can and despite the fact that it is 40 degrees outside.
The only time you won’t be shunned for sitting out on the steps of the student union with a sign reading “free hugs,” is in college. In fact, if you’d believe it, the guy is more popular now.
The only place I’ve heard of it being common practice to shower in flip-flops is in college. I sincerely hope this really is the only place where this is the norm, its kind of annoying.
In college, or at least in Selleck, its not unheard of to find someone running up and down the halls throwing a tantrum, complete with screaming, crying, whining, and beating walls, because they don’t want to go to class.
On weekend nights, along with the beautiful singing and loud music from random parties, there will probably be people leaning out their windows howling. Yes, just like they showed on Gilmore Girls, I’m not joking.
Honestly, what more could a person want in an educational experience?