Visiting College with a Hearing Loss

Yesterday Terry, Kyersten and I went to college.

We are blessed that our kiddos get to go to their first two years “free”, as long as they attend where “Daddy” works!  Needless to say, Kyersten is enrolled in Anne Arundel Community College this Fall!

The first hour, Kyersten stayed curled up with a computer somewhere while Terry and I went to visit one of his bosses.  Charlene was very nice, and Terry had “coached” her how best to communicate with me.  Her office was very quiet, which helped a great deal.  Noisy environments are tough places to try to have a “hi, how are you?” conversation with a new person.  For some reason the subject of Kyersten always comes up (Is she excited?  Is she single?  What does she like to do?) at AACC, when the other person has a college-aged SON.  I suppose I should get use to that!

Terry and I then went to get Kyersten and we “walked” through her class rotation.  She opted to do all of her classes on Tues/Thurs this first semester.  She is taking 13 hours, so that’s only 4 classroom locations to find.  Easy, right?

The campus is beautiful and is set in the middle of a park, really!  Foot bridges, walking paths, gardens, and wildlife abound… much to Chloe’s chagrin as she was “in vest” and working!  We got turned around a couple of times trying to find all of Kyersten’s classes.  Part of the problem, was that Terry kept looking for elevators as he knows I don’t take stairs well.  When I finally figured out what he was doing, I made him go back and “show Kyersten the way” minus the elevators.  So I had a few flights of stairs to climb, but did great with Chloe next to me.  We had a storm front come through over the weekend, so my balance was still a little “off-kilter”.  I’m glad that Chloe actually brings attention to the fact that there is “something different” about me.  It discounts any possibility that I’ve been drinking, as my gait can be a bit wobbly when my Meniere’s symptoms are subsiding!  At least I was able to get a lot of great “staircase” training in with Chloe.  I usually avoid them, but do need the exposure to this “danger” in a controlled environment occasionally!

It struck me as funny and yet ironic, that as she stood in each classroom making comments about places she’d like to sit, I found myself looking for the “best place to sit” as well.  Where a person with hearing loss would sit, however, is a little different than where a college-aged freshmen would sit!

The bookstore was a madhouse, but we bravely entered the foray and muscled our way to the nearest student employee.  Service dogs are well known at AACC, so Chloe was ignored and allowed to work for the most part.  She was totally bored in a down/stay, even amidst the mayhem of a college bookstore before classes start!  All that great “noisy environment” training at Fidos For Freedom is worth it!  After trying to fight my way through the narrow isles, I finally just went and waited with Chloe over to the side as Kyersten was in “good hands”.

Kyersten was so excited the rest of the day!  I’m sure that walking through her rotations, finding all the student “hang outs”, and meetings some of the students made it seem more “real” to her.  Even buying textbooks brought it “home” to her that she is getting ready to start a new chapter in her life!  The kid loves books!  She poured herself into them the remainder of the day!  I don’t have to “hear perfectly” to recognize the excitement in her voice!  There are numerous campus Bible studies and clubs for Christian students at AACC.  She has already begun to touch base and will very likely be immersed in “college life” by mid-August.

Am I ready for this?  (yeah!  I am!)

Denise Portis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s