I’m a helper. I’m a giver (often times too much). And I’m a fighter. Truth be told, I’ve been completely lost. People would say all kinds of things about me…whether it was about my appearance, my weird voice, or my unique accent which was a mixed of Spanish and deafness, I guess. Whatever. But what people thought of me, that was me. My self-talk was their voices and their opinions. I allowed people to use my hearing as a weapon to break me down. Even thought my hearing will always become a part of who I am today, I learned how to keep that away from my own success and dreams. I learned to make it my most fulfilling possession and use it a motivating gear. I challenge and push myself every single day, from elementary school to college. Every day, I refuse to let my hearing get in the way of what I want, somehow and in some ways I prove to myself and others around me that my hearing difficulties is not – and never will be- a problem.
I am just like everyone else but something very small distinguish me from them. As a kid, it is not surprised that I’ve been bullied, I’ve been laughed at, and I’ve been isolated and would cry home from school on most days. The list goes on. But I have had countless counselors, advisories, and teachers who guided me, and thanks to them, I learned to read, write and speak English fluently. Growing up I was not a straight A’s student, I struggled to fully understand most of what was taught in class, I needed one-on-one assistance, I always need extra help on projects and homework. I would be pulled from classes to meet with a speech pathologist who would check on my hearing, speech and even helped me on some of class works. In middle school, my parents, especially my dad, would stayed up late with me finishing on math, English and social science assignments. Even thought my learning was delayed, I managed to catch up all the way until college. I was finally in the same level as any regular student but I had to work just a bit harder than them. I always sat in the front row of a classroom so that I would read the professor’s lips, watch the interrupters whenever I missed a small detail, I would carry my hearing aid batteries every day in my bag because I hated when they would die on me. I had trouble writing my notes well enough to benefit me when tests/quizzes come. I would ask the professor for extra help and even made them repeat something that I didn’t fully understood in class and I would keep pushing them until I understood hundred percent.
Once in a blue moon, it would just hit me. I compared myself to other’s success and accomplishments. I would simple belittle myself or punish myself for not working as hard as I should have. It was like I was developing a disgusting trait in me that later I regret for not being a better and more positive person for own goods. All I needed was to be reminded that this experience is supposed to motivate me, inspire me and most importantly, grow me into the person I am meant to be. That’s why I want to earn my bachelor in Speech, Language and Hearing and eventually earn my Ph.D. in Audiology at the University of South Florida. I want become an expert in my deafness that I could help others that are like myself. Seeing how I struggled with my identity and with my developments. I would hate to see other deaf and hard of hearing students and individuals struggle with their own difficulties. I want to assist because I understand how the journey might be like for them and I bleed trying to get myself to where I am today. What most hearing people don’t understand is that Deaf/Hard of Hearing communities are expected to overcome their impairment just because they are different from society’s normal bodies. They are expected to put their deafness aside and work their way up to society’s standards but little do they know that we suffocate striving to that so-called standard, we lose a part of who are, our self-esteem and our values. What I want to portray to the younger generations is self-acceptance, doing to best at your ability regardless of what it looks like to others, that they can do everything that a normal person can do and simply push boundaries. Therefore, I hope that by earning my bachelor degree and someday, my Ph.D., I will be able to give back to the Deaf/Hard of Hearing communities, educate them, advise them, assist them and help them work their way to success. I am currently studying communication science and disorder at the University of South Florida, Tampa. I am at my third year of college and hope to complete many more years at this beautiful institution. Along the way, I will benefit from this scholarship whether to pay my tuition or books, I will forever be thankful and graceful. A little support goes a long way.