Sean Sokler — My College Experiences
Going to college is an unnerving experience for anyone. Everything is new. New place, new friends, new instructors, a new environment. There are many things to get comfortable with. A normal student will eventually make friends and become comfortable with their environment.
These students do not have to deal with the added anxiety of not being able to talk, looking different, needing an assistant, and using a keyboard to communicate.
My first semester of college was the most excruciating socially. The first day of class everyone was looking nervous, not wanting to talk to the stranger beside them. Then I walked in the room. Suddenly those strangers had something in common, they were looking at me wondering what disability I have and if I could really be in their college classroom. I heard some students whispering about me. They thought I couldn't hear them, but they did know that I have acute hearing.
Only a few students took the time to get to know me that first semester. My last two years of college were different than that first semester. For one thing, I was more at ease by that time. My classmates were the foremost change. In all of my classes the last few semesters my classmates were much more accepting of me. There was no whispering, no intent or puzzled looks, and just no rude people. I was just another student in the class. In fact, the students asked me questions about my disability and my method of communication. They seemed eager to learn all about me. I made a few good friends through this interaction.
My last semester of courses at George Mason University could not have been better. My classmates, in all of my courses, were very supportive and accepting of me. My professors were also supportive and accepting of me. My professors made accommodations for me, which I am very grateful for. They were eager to improve their teaching format and enhance methods to include me in their classroom.