Perkins student, Bella, shares her first blog post today. Her English class is studying personal narratives and she submitted this post as part of her work for the class.
As I weaved my way down a small hallway, my cane hit the bottoms of unfamiliar walls. I kept walking forward as I put my face an inch away from every labeled classroom door to read them. I walked into the class and took my seat, just as the teacher handed out print music sheets. For the rest of the class I felt as though I could not contribute to the class because everyone else could see the music notes we were supposed to sing and I couldn’t.
This summer I attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts for five weeks. I was so excited to be learning how to be a better performer, and to work on my singing. From the moment I walked into the dorm I knew there would be a lot of things I would have to get used to. For one I have never fully been alone without my parents for this long of a time before. How was I supposed to navigate a campus that I have only visited twice with a mobility instructor? How will the sighted students react to seeing someone with a white cane?
My first piece of advice to those who are blind, or visually impaired, is to be confident. Always know that nothing is impossible. One of my biggest regrets from the program is I was too concerned with trying to get everyone to like me. I was so worried about what other kids would think about me, that I lost track of who I was. I began to act like someone I am not. I often wouldn't carry my cane because I was scared that others would view me as different. I soon realized that not carrying my “second pair of eyes” would get me into some uncomfortable situations.
One day I was walking on the street on the way to class, and I passed a construction area. The construction worker held his hand out hoping that I would see it. He then yelled, “See my hand? When it’s out like this it means stop!” Since I did not have my cane I had to explain that I was blind, and he immediately apologized. Another time I was once again walking down a street only to hear a woman scream, “I just motioned and screamed at you to stop, and now you stepped on the bird!”
Apparently there was a bird in the crosswalk that I could not see and was told I stepped on it. After telling her how sorry I was, and that I am blind, she too seemed to jump to endless apologies. All of this could have been avoided if I was confident and did not care what people thought of my cane.