Welcome to Gallaudet…Really

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I recently posted on the web about something that frustrated me at school, and I said “Welcome to Gallaudet!” A friend of mine, who graduated from Gallaudet several years ago, asked: “Why do you go to Gallaudet if you’re gonna keep bashing it or its students?” This is my response.

I think you misunderstand what “Welcome to Gallaudet” means. It’s a very common expression of frustration and fatalism around here. Whenever something goes wrong, takes longer than it should have, or doesn’t work out how you expected, well, “Welcome to Gallaudet.” Transfer credits didn’t come through? Welcome to Gallaudet. Teacher gave somebody else an A+ when your work was better than theirs? Welcome to Gallaudet. Food sucks? Welcome to Gallaudet. It’s not bashing, and it has nothing to do with Gallaudet in particular – all colleges have problems like these. It definitely has nothing to do with Gallaudet being a deaf school or with its students being deaf.

I understand the impulse to feel defensive when someone complains about your alma mater. But keep in mind that it’s my school too. I have the right to complain about things that are frustrating to me, it’s part of life in an institution greater than yourself. Some people complain about work, I complain about school – that’s my “job” right now.

I will bleed buff and blue until the day I die, and I love Gallaudet like nothing else in the world. (My wife told me yesterday I should get “Gallaudet” tattooed on my ass because I love it so much – I might actually do that after I graduate!) But like everything else, Gallaudet has problems. Identifying them and addressing them are how we move forward. And if we have to vent a little frustration in the process, that comes with the territory.

I hope that explains for you why I sometimes seem to complain about Gallaudet. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t love this school with all my heart.

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