Leading the Bison Charge!

Monday, February 11, 2013


I have often said that "God had to trick me to learn ASL, but I'm SOOO GLAD He did!!!"  That rings true as much now, maybe more so, than ever before!  I have to thank a few more people, though!  I have just submitted my paperwork and video essay for admission to Gallaudet University's Hearing UnderGrad program in the fall of 2013.  I must say, I am nervous about my chances of being accepted, but I HAD to apply!!!  I would rather be denied than not have tried!  I must thank Jon Vaughan and Kari Olney for writing recommendations for me!  ( I think so anyway, I didn't actually read the contents of them.)  I also thank Kari for recording my video essay which I may have the guts to post at some point.  YOU ROCK DEAF MOM!!!  I also have to thank Zims and the Cool Crazy Chica for helping me prepare for my video essay.  Ladies, I know you felt like I was too hard on myself, but I REALLY DO appreciate your help!!!  And I can't forget my signer friends and each of you who reads this blog.  I REALLY want your comments on this post...good, bad, or ugly!!! (Don't worry, I added most of the exclamation points and caps for the blog version.  YOU KNOW HOW I ROLL!!!)  And I will let you know the decision, accepted or denied.  Here is my written admissions essay.  You know I tend to be wordy, so it's gonna take a few minutes to read.  Let's dive right in, shall we!

Persistence!  Passion!  Loyalty!  If the question is what qualifies me to be a Hearing UnderGrad student at Gallaudet University, then these three qualities are my answer in true Jeopardy fashion.  When I read the email informing me this was to be my topic, I immediately thought of my persistence.  Passion followed within a few seconds, maybe even a minute or 2 later.  But, I needed a third.  I remember that a true essay or composition must have at least three body paragraphs.  Plus, three gives it a feel of completion.  It took all of several minutes, maybe 5 or so, for me to think of loyalty.  I'm not sure why, because my persistence and passion for ASL and connecting with the Deaf Community are unrivaled in comparison to other areas of my life.  However, loyalty, seemingly permeates every corner of my existence.  Enough with the introduction.

When I began learning ASL, I had no idea how fast I would learn the language.  I knew it was an entirely different language than English with a different grammatical structure.  My only ASL knowledge was the alphabet and a few other signs.  In the 3 years since my ASL birthday (September 20, 2009 was my first ASL class), I have struggled to learn ASL.  I remember sitting in class being completely lost as to what my teacher was saying and everyone else was laughing at her story.  Yet, as far as I know, I am the only one of that class who is still deeply involved in the Deaf Community.  I was also the only one to never miss a class that semester.  And my teacher has become my good friend.  I have friends with a smaller vocabulary of signs, yet they communicate better than me because they are more visually oriented.  Yet, I persist.  At this point, I socialize almost exclusively with signers.  Though I know that I will be in positions where I am left out of the conversation because of my sign skills, I persist.  Why, you ask?  That would lead me to explain my passion.

I consider myself to be a person of only a few, yet deeply held, passions.  Of course, ASL/the Deaf Community/Gallaudet University is also a passion.  For me, those three things are inseparable.  You must understand why I started to learn ASL to fully understand my passion for it.  I had no desire to learn ASL before meeting Kari Olney who had just graduated from Gallaudet in the summer of 2009.  I found out she played basketball there and said we should play through an interpreter.  Realizing I could not trash talk her, I decided to take her ASL class to learn how.  I ended up falling in love with ASL and the Deaf Community.  In the 2010-2011 season, I enjoyed volunteering as a timekeeper at several MSSD basketball games.  I enjoy helping Deaf members of my church become more involved.  I jumped at the opportunity Jon Vaughan, head Gallaudet athletic trainer, gave me to volunteer at the sports camp this summer.  I then continued when Mariko Kobanawa, another athletic trainer, said I could stay on during the school year.  It was actually a little bittersweet when I became a paid staff member in the same position.  Why?  Because there is something so freeing about doing something because you love it and for no other reason!  I LOVE my my job, though it's part time and minimum wage.  I loved it when I was a volunteer!  I love blogging about my ASL experiences, including, maybe particularly, the AWKWARD ones.  I refer to signers as "my people".  I have enjoyed studying Deaf Culture in the Merrill Learning Center over the last several months.  And I love the idea of going to Gallaudet University and majoring in PE with minors in Athletic Coaching and Deaf Studies.  What can better prepare me to coach hearing and Deaf kids together to help build bridges between the Deaf Community and the hearing world.  All of this because of passion and I HAVEN'T REALLY EVEN GOTTEN STARTED, YET!!!  How do you know this is NOT a passing phase?  Besides the fact that I am persistent when faced with obstacles, I am INTENSELY LOYAL!!!

I persist with my ASL because of my passion.  However, I am not a particularly persistent or passionate person in most areas of my life besides ASL/Deaf Culture.  Loyalty seems to ooze from every cell in my body, however.  At 34, I have only ever had one NFL team, the Redskins.  That has been for more than 25 years.  I grew up in New Carrollton, Md and still don't like to mention the city that was our Boys and Girls Club arch rival.  I pride myself on helping my friends and am disappointed in myself when I fail to do so, even if they don't think I did anything wrong.  I have NOTHING without my loyalty!!!  I can't imagine my life now without the Deaf Community.  My goals in terms of career and ministry have been altered in large and small ways, because the Deaf Community is now the focus.  My blood runs BUFF AND BLUE!!!  I have supported Gally athletics beginning with Pink Day in 2010.  I even try to get my friends (mostly Gallaudet graduates and students) to join me at games.  A lot of good things have happened recently at Gallaudet, for instance a new dorm utilizing Deaf Space.  I see a lot of good things to come, such as using the parking lot across 6th St. to meet student's food needs while connecting with the larger community.  No matter what though, as with my beloved Redskins, my loyalty remains through good and bad.

So there it is.  My answer as to why I am qualified to be a Hearing UnderGrad student at Gallaudet University.  I do realize that my story and perspectives may not be the norm.  My point exactly!  I have something unique to offer.  My support for Galladuet will not waver, regardless of the outcome.  Hopefully, you will also realize my admission will best prepare me to continue to give back to Gallaudet University and the Deaf Community at large.