A glimpse into the life of a Gallaudet Student

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Chapel Hall and the Thomas Gallaudet statue

My professor invited Richan Gaskins, an assistant football coach at Gallaudet University, to give a presentation on “Networking” at the start of our International Development with People with Disabilities in Developing Countries class this morning. There were some points he raised in his presentation that gave me food for thought.

Richan Gaskins: If you limit yourself to the people in your class, all you’ll ever learn is what they know. There’s a whole universe out there.

I agree wholeheartedly. 🙂

One way to keep growing and learning is to continually meet new people from all walks of life. Committing myself to the path of personal, spiritual, and professional growth,
was what drove me all the way to Washington D.C.

Life in Australia last year, in all honesty, started to feel dull. I was bored to tears. Period. I felt I had exhausted every opportunity there. I got experience working in various schools and had opportunities to publish articles I had written. The Australian Deaf Community (even though I do love my Australian Deaf friends dearly and want to see them again), suddenly felt way too small and opportunities to continually expand my circle of friends and my network appeared extremely limited. I was worried that my life was in danger of becoming stagnant. I recall feeling rather lost. And I admit, a tad depressed. One of my Australian friends strongly encouraged me to give Gallaudet a go.  She emphasized that we were not meant to live life in the same routine throughout our entire lifespan and that change is vital to our growth.

Even though I’ve been in Washington D.C. for 6 months already and more or less know the city, Gallaudet University, never ceases to amaze me with its incredible and numerous networking opportunities. My world opened up the moment I set foot on U.S. soil. Every week, I meet and converse with someone I’ve never met before. And the quality of people I am meeting….just A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. The conversations I have are always stimulating and enriching.

The spring semester has started out well. I enjoy every single one of my classes tremendously. Mondays are the longest days of the week as I have two 3 hour classes from 9am to 4pm.  At the end of the day, my brain is fried. Despite this, the two classes, International Development with People with Disabilities and Project Design and Implementation, on Mondays are my favorites as I gain so much from both. Other classes I take during the week include International Sign and Economic Development. Another class, Multicultural Deaf Lives: Ethnographic Studies, will commence during the spring break and runs online for 8 weeks. Can’t wait!

Anyone looking at my diary will see that my schedule is filled to the brim. I spend hours poring over the never ending readings and tackling homework assignments outside of class. When I am not studying, I am working at my office in the Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) Center. There are some weekends I have to sacrifice in order to catch up with the workload. I do allow myself to have a break by hanging out with friends, and accepting invitations to parties and events. In spite of the busyness, I am not complaining simply because I am loving every moment of being a student at Gallaudet. Being here, has given me an insatiable appetite for learning. Every morning when I wake up, I express my gratitude to God for the opportunity to be here. Each day is a good day. Although, some days I crash out of pure exhaustion after being charged up for consecutive days and working for long periods of time.

I am learning a great deal in the international development program. What makes the program stand out from other universities is it’s special focus on Deaf people and people with disabilities. My professor pointed out that not many international development programs in other colleges have that. My perspective is constantly challenged. I’ve experienced many lightbulb moments along the way. One skill I’ve picked up, is learning to consider the various perspectives of all individuals in a particular setting and seeking to understand why people respond the way they do. I love that we can openly discuss and address sensitive issues pertaining to race, culture and disability discrimination in class, and yet maintain confidentiality by confining the discussion to the four walls of the classroom. All that I’ve learnt thus far has transformed my thinking.

If you happen to be reading this post, and are considering entering the field of international development, I encourage you to consider coming to Gallaudet University to pursue the Master of Arts in International Development.

The experience, I promise, will be life-changing. 🙂

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4 thoughts on “A glimpse into the life of a Gallaudet Student

  1. Once many many many moons ago I was offered a lifetime opportunity to go to Gallaudet to study law which used to be a dream of mine growing up but I declined the offer, my father offered to pay in full including accommodation….

    Sometimes I wondered if I did take that chance, what would my life be like now? However I do not regret it because I am happily married with 4 beautiful children even I do want my children to experience the Deaf World I had as a teenager when the Deaf Community was so rich.

    Australia does have it limits… I agree it can be dull and very ‘limit’ with opportunity, there is nothing more to grow. I admire you for being honest and I am looking forward to more of your blogs on your journey. Live each day as if it was your last 🙂

    DB x

  2. Thank you for sharing a bit of your journey. Yes, you having a family with 4 kids is a beautiful thing in and of itself and a blessing too. 🙂 It is great also that you had the option to consider going to Gallaudet. 🙂 Thanks for your encouragement. Phoebe x

  3. I recently had the great privilege of visiting the Gallaudet campus while visiting DC.The campus is so beautiful and old, and seemed like such an inspirational place to learn. You seem very engaged and excited by the learning, which I love hearing, particularly from young people with their lives ahead of them. I am in my forties, and have long found the world an interesting place. Many Congratulations on the exciting things happening in your life, and at Gallaudet, and thank you for sharing this glimpse into your world.

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