It was a lot of work getting scholarship applications in, finding housing, picking my classes, paying for tuition, etc. But as the day that I moved in got closer and closer, I couldn't help but feel really excited. Family and friends were telling me that college is the best and that I would have a wonderful time.
I was a little worried about going from high school to college and being able to hear the professors. But my good friend reached out and told me about the universities accessibility center and all the services they offered. So I made an appointment with them a few weeks before classes started.
At the appointment I learned about the services that were offered. They provide transcribers and interpreters to deaf people. I didn't want interpreters because I thought it would be too distracting to watch the interpreter and listen to the professor. The transcription services seemed like a better option for me because I can usually understand everything, but occasionally I will miss something.
The transcription services is live-captioning. I have 2 transcribers for each class, and they type everything the professor/students say. They send me a link that I pull up on my laptop and I am able to follow along. For the most part I don't rely too much on the captioning, but it can be very useful at times. If I ever can't understand the professor either because they turned around, went to another side of the room, or were talking super fast I am able to look down at my computer and read what I missed. It is also helpful when the students ask a question or make a comment and I can't hear them. This was something I struggled with in high school, so it is nice in college that I am now able to understand what students say!
My transcribers send me the transcript at the end of class, so I basically get awesome notes! It is very nice because sometimes the professor will talk really fast and I will be struggling to hear and follow along. So at the end of class I will go back and read the transcript to make sure I fully understand the topic.
It's hilarious because every class the people sitting next to me will usually lean over half way through class and whisper, "Woah! That is so cool! What is this? Can I get this program?" I tell them that I am deaf and I have transcribers who type everything for me. Their eyes go wide and they say, "How are they typing that fast?!" Haha! It is seriously the greatest. I love having the transcription services because I am able to understand the full lecture and I get awesome notes!
My family and friends kept warning me that college is hard. But they had no idea that it would be 10x harder for a deaf person. I have the academic part all figured out and I am able to understand everything. However college isn't just about school, social things are a big part. There is always something happening on campus, and most likely all of the social activities are LOUD!
I had my first realization that the social part of college was going to be super hard for me on the day I moved in. There was a dorm party that evening and I was excited to go because it would be my first college party. I showed up and knew immediately that it was going to be hard to hear. There was music blaring, hundreds of people talking, and it was dark. I put on my brave face and started meeting people. I probably said "what" a hundred times. I went back to my dorm and I was exhausted. Trying to hear in a loud environment is so exhausting!
I can't emphasize enough that college is SO loud! You are constantly meeting new people in loud places. Before class starts you are talking to your neighbor and 100-700 people are also getting to know their neighbor, so as you can guess it gets pretty loud. Volleyball games, football games, parties, etc. are so loud. In every one of these loud settings I am always struggling to hear as I am trying to meet new people.
Don't get me wrong, I have had a ton of fun so far! I have great friends and an awesome roommate! I still go to all of these social things because they are fun! I have come to accept that it will always be hard for me to hear. I will always have to say "what" a thousand times a day. Some days are just plain hard and exhausting and there have definitely been tears shed.
A lot of people think that only the academic part of school is hard, but for me it is also the social part. But I'm not going to let my deafness get in the way of having fun at college. I am still going to go to football games and parties even though they are extremely hard to hear at. I am also still going to meet new people even if I have to ask them to repeat their name two times because I couldn't hear it.