Gallaudet’s Metamorphosis

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I’m back at Gallaudet University, the campus of accessibility and opportunities–also the campus of cute but territorial squirrels (they’re adorable, but do not mess with them).  After a long and mostly uninteresting summer, I’m glad to be back at Gally, where something interesting is always going on. However I can’t say that I’ve missed reading textbooks and writing papers.

Since it’s a new school year, I thought I would introduce myself again. So here goes… My name is Heather Breitbach, I’m from Melrose, Minnesota (google it, it’s a really tiny town) and I’m a senior at Gally. Yep, it’s my fourth year here. I remember being a freshman and thinking I gotta go through four more years of this? But now, I can’t believe it’s been four years, I don’t think I want it to be over just when I’m getting the hang of it!

Gally has changed so much since I first arrived. In the fall of 2007, Gally was still reeling from the protests the previous year and accreditation issues. So that meant that this university was going through a major curriculum overhaul. While this was good for the university, it meant that the freshman class who entered Gallaudet University in fall 2007 (me included) were the guinea pigs for the administration. A lot of things like GSR (general studies requirements) classes, a new addition, were unorganized and chaotic.

I remember feeling frustrated that not a lot of people here, specificially the GSR faculty, knew what they were doing, and that there wasn’t a huge variety of students from different backgrounds. They all seemed to be from deaf families and from deaf state schools. I felt left out since I had been mainstreamed and out of the deaf community loop even though I have a deaf family. But now, things have completely changed for the better. Not only does Gallaudet University now have a larger student body, we now have students from a variety of backgrounds, new signers, mainstreamed students, students from hearing families, etc. Instead of feeling like a closed community (as it previously felt), Gally feels more open to anyone interested in the deaf community.

Anyhoo, I am probably going to be here a little longer than I originally expected since I changed my major. I was originally double majoring in English and Secondary Education, intending to teach English to deaf high school students. But after some soul searching, I realized I wasn’t exactly sure if I wanted to become a teacher. I thought that with a major as demanding as Secondary Education, I need to be very sure that it is what I want to do before wasting too much time with it. So, I am still majoring in English, but will declare a major in Communication Studies soon. I still don’t know where I’ll be after graduation, but that doesn’t scare me.

I have lots of goals for the semester and hopefully will be able to complete most of them. I’m an officer of a sorority on campus, have two jobs (gblogging, front desk student assistant at the library) and am a full time student. I guess it’s good to be busy, but not to the point of brain meltage, so we’ll see how that goes.

I wish my fellow students a great school year and encourage my readers to stay tuned for more blogs!

As always, you can ask me anything.

Cheers,

Heather

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