These final two weeks prior to this Spring ’09 term’s testing week host some interesting awards events of which I find myself being invited to attend. Last week—which I unfortunately missed out on because of staving off bronchitis—there was Awards Day, a ceremony at the Gallaudet University Kellog Hotel. I was presented an award for Excellence for my first year as well as one for my efforts in maintaining a 4.0 GPA and making the Dean’s List. This morning, Phi Alpha Pi Honorary Society held a 7am ceremony in the Student Academic Center and presented membership awards to this year’s inductees to the society.
The purpose behind my mentioning receiving these accolades is that I feel my chosen path of hard work to restore independent balance and personal drive to my life is being recognized in a healthy way, and I appreciate it. It was January of last year that I took on the task of learning American Sign Language, with mid-July 2008 being the time when I would begin using ASL on a daily basis. So I feel I prepared myself in a way that has appeared for months since that January time to have been a wise set of maneuvers. Goethe wrote a poem which speaks of providence and that once a man puts forth his mind and efforts towards something great assistance and rewards will he find. I discovered that poem at a bookstore while during the first trimester of a massage therapy education. It moved me forward back at that time when I was in big doubt over whether I was making the right decision to enroll for an education in that particular field. As it is now I have found myself experiencing a revival of that doubt at certain intervals throughout this ’08-’09 school year at Gallaudet. Doubt seems to be a significant theme when pursuing goals that are uncommon among your known social group. No one in my family is deaf, therefore, to come to Gallaudet, to take on developing ASL abilities, and to re-enroll in collegiate affairs has left me at times feeling boldly removed from those people who I feel shared commonness with me.
Yet, this morning I was given the chance of seeing some older deaf adults, including GU President Robert Davila. This type of encounter increases my spectrum of understanding as it parallels the spectrum of age among the Deaf community to which I’m still getting to know. Seeing successful Deaf individuals, seeing them use ASL, and feeling their encouragement all of it does wonders in fueling me along to continue what I’ve started. President Davila chatted some with us students, mentioning something he recently found out and that is China by 2020 will have more citizens whom speak English than those outside of China that consist of the whole English speaking populace. The second projection for 2020 he shared with us is that India will have more Honors level students by that time than all of America has in individuals with a student status. He placed emphasis on thanking us for appearing this morning and for putting forth the work and dedication to learning that we do.
During my days of heavy reflection lately it is a comment like that from this university’s active President that gives me a bit of a needed nudge for pressing on. I was able to learn of several students who did not show this morning to be honored and of them I know a couple individuals fairly well. Both are Deaf and have been since birth. How is this important to me? It is important because with the way things have gone in the last 15 or months I feel I’ve been bombarded by tremendous challenge but here I am waking up at 630am to attend yet another event that just might increase the luminance of my newly generated identity as a late-deafened adult. This identity restoration is a constant work in progress, and in the words of Jacques Lusseyran, is one for which I am convinced I will “…never have to go more than halfway and the universe [will] become the accomplice of all my wishes,” (tense change).