The Deaf World

by

Never in my life have I seen or even met a deaf person. I had one friend my junior year of high school that was just like me. She was hard of hearing but she grew up in the hearing world all her life. She talked like a hearing person too so we were more hearing than deaf but that’s the only person in my life that I have ever met that was hard of hearing or deaf. Coming here to Gallaudet University was the start of being in the deaf world. All my life I have felt like I was different because I was the only one in my family who had a hearing problem and normally the only one in my schools that was hard of hearing or deaf. I had no experience with the deaf language so I struggled very much when I first got here on campus.

I remember my first day here when I was introduced to some deaf people and I was so shocked because I had no idea what the others were saying. It made me nervous too because I thought that I wouldn’t fit in with these people here. At times I thought that I wouldn’t feel accepted and maybe people I try to communicate with would get frustrated with me and give up. I feel like I relate to the people here because I’ve had experiences with not hearing and being different than most people. Although, at the same time I was raised in the hearing world so I thought here they wouldn’t accept me because I have no experience in the deaf world. I saw a video on YouTube that was from a few years ago when the president of Gallaudet was hired but she was hearing and the deaf community here at Gallaudet took it personal and started protests that ended up making national news so I was nervous about that as well.

Up to this point since I’ve been here, I’ve learned a lot of signing but I’m not fluent like I would like to be. I’m at the point right now where I can have a normal, simple conversation with a deaf person. I notice that most of my friends here are either hearing or hard of hearing. I’m really trying to change that and meet more deaf people. Hopefully with more practice I will be able to speak fluently so I won’t have to use pagers and texting to communicate with my deaf friends here.

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