I'M STILL STRONG! These are the words Antwone Fisher said to his foster mother (who verbally and physically abused him) and his babysitter (who molested him) when he saw them for the first time in several years. "Antwone Fisher" is my favorite biopic and this is one of my favorite parts of the movie. I have watched that movie start to finish probably more than any other movie. Although I have not faced nearly the level of adversity Antwone experienced, I currently find myself in the midst of a mix of blessings, challenges, and opportunities that are shaping me into a better person, signer, writer, and most importantly, hopefully a better friend!
Picking up where I left off in "Round 2", I applied as a non-degree seeking student after being denied admission to the Hearing UnderGrad Program at Gallaudet University. I was accepted and I placed into ASL 111, which is ASL I and ASL II combined into an accelerated course. Turns out, my professor was Kari Olney's assistant basketball coach in high school. (Of course, Kari knows all the Deaf people in the world.) I got an 89% for the class, just barely missing an "A". I thought I could take my class free as an employee, however found out around mid-semester I could not get a tuition waiver as a temporary employee.
Of course, I continued my watergirl duties. I worked fewer hours due to budget cuts and students who volunteered for class credit. But it's particularly gratifying this year as I get to see Zamica Gage handle business on the hardwood!!! She has taken several hard fouls this season, BUT TEAMS CAN'T STOP THE ZAMINATOR!!! As a starting shooting guard and sometime point guard, she leads the team with just under 19 points a game and also contributes 5 rebounds and 2 steals per game. I'm PROUD of her both on AND off the court!!! LOVE YOU SIS!!!
I was somehow able to convince (without bribery or blackmail) the Buff and Blue sports editor to allow me to write an article. I now have two articles online and have 2 more in the works. (You can click on the link below to read my articles. I write under the pen name GU Water Girl.) I was excited to exercise my writing skills in a new way. I particularly enjoy the interviews. (We have some AMAZING people at Gallaudet!!!) I truly believe the editing process has made me a better writer, even with just 2 published articles, so far. It teaches me to write with more clarity and to be more organized. However, sometimes I feel the edits don't accurately represent what I'm trying to articulate. I DO enjoy the process, though!
A few months ago, car problems left me without access to a vehicle. Even that has a bright side, because I have been walking A LOT and find that walking helps me control my stress. As a severe introvert, it gives me time to process things and it's easier for me to think when I'm moving. I find it to be very peaceful. That pretty much sums up this past semester, so what's next for me?
I don't know! (That answer was anticlimactic, wasn't it?!) I may have to work next semester to pay off my tuition. I can't register for classes anyway as long as my balance is over $1,000. Now, the athletic director wants everyone with my job to be students. So, I told my boss, if I'm not a student next semester, I'd like to keep my position as a volunteer. I'd rather volunteer than not do it at all! At the very least, I will continue to support the Bison basketball teams as a fan! I'm also stepping up my scholarship research (particularly for essay contests) in preparation for Fall 2015. I GOTTA get in next Fall!
This semester has had it's ups and downs. FINALLY becoming a Gallaudet University student (even if it is just non-degree seeking with one class) and writing for Buff and Blue are dreams come true!! My struggles have made me more patient, helped me see the bright side of difficult situations, made me stronger, and helped me mature. (I know, the idea of me maturing is scary!!!) So, like Antwone Fisher, yes I am still standing! Not only am I still strong, but now I'm even stronger! I will defer to Antwone to finish the opening quote, "AND I ALWAYS WILL BE!!!"