College, again

  About 15 years ago I was going through some college classes.  I was upfront then about my hearing loss and most teachers would work with me.  For instance I sat up front in my classes and they would answer questions after class for me.  For the speech class I was excused from writing a critique if I couldn’t understand the person.

  I went a few years and then I got the teacher from hell. He had a thick accent from where I don’t know.  I could not understand what he said most of the time.  Meeting him before the class I told him I had a hard time understanding him due to his accent and my hearing loss.  He told me, “You have an accent to me.”  During that first class I knew I would have problems.   Once he asked the class if anyone had used a microscope.  I could not get the word ‘microscope’ so I did not raise my hand like everyone else in the class.  He made fun of me. He also showed a video that would be on the test but it was a video without captions.  Without captions I am lost I explained to him.  He shrugged his shoulders and turned around.  

  I went to the disability office at the college and pleaded for help.  They said they would find me a note taker. I suffered another week in the class with no help, not understanding a thing and fearing failure.  I dropped the class and stopped going to classes all together.  A week after I dropped the class the disability services called to tell me they found a note taker.  Too late I informed them. 

  This week, some 15 years later I am signing up for college classes again.  The first place I visited was the disabilities services center.  A deaf lady was my counselor and I felt a little more at ease.  She assured me if I had problems with any teacher like that I should come straight to their office and let them know.  I feel like I have back up.

  Now the question is what can I do with my life as an individual with hearing loss?  My hearing continues to fail and I will eventually be deaf.  Right now I know some sign but am not fluent as I have no one to practice with.  I’m not accepted into the deaf community by far. 

  I took a career path test and it suggested a few things I am thinking over.   It listed as my top 10 occupations:

  1. photographer (photography is a hobby of mine since I was a kid)
  2. artist (I like but does it require college classes?)
  3. paralegal (not the slightest interest)
  4. advertising account manager (no interest for me)
  5. reporter (includes talking to people, is that doable for me?)
  6. librarian (love, love, love books)
  7. social worker (if it involves signing I could be)
  8. translator (out of the question because I don’t hear well enough)
  9. speech pathologist (same as above)
  10. technical writer (unappealing to me)

   Hearing loss defines who I am and what I do.  Maybe I shouldn’t let it but I can’t help it.  I want the easiest possible path when I do lose my hearing all together.  I’m not much of a fighter really, more of a lover.  If I’m fighting against the grain too much I lose heart.

  So I have to think about what I want to do now.  I was trying to register for spring semester but I may be too late.  I’m waiting for a student number, old transcripts so I know where to start and the dates are closing in on me.  I would like to go back to college but it may have to wait until summer or fall.  I’ll do well as long as teachers work with me and most will.  I know the others are out there and I’m sure I’ll run into a nasty teacher again.


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