by Katie Carmack
From the Editor: This fine piece was taken and slightly modified by Katie when she learned we were interested in publishing it in the Braille Monitor. Katie was a school teacher who thought her ability to teach was disappearing as fast as her sight. She now believes differently, and she is learning that what she wants in life comes as fast as her ability to believe, to train, and to work for her attainable goals. Here is what she says about her experience at the Colorado Center for the Blind:
“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be, and he will become as he can and should be.”
― Stephen R. Covey
Last week in Philosophy class we discussed EXPECTATIONS. One of the questions asked was what expectations do I have for myself? The truthful answer is that over the years I have consistently lowered my expectations of myself. Let me give you an example: when I stopped working last year I thought a lot about what I could do next for my career. I started thinking of jobs that didn’t require a lot of technology, that were close to my house, and that required minimal reading/writing. Basically I was setting expectations for myself that were lower because I was blind. No one else set those expectations—I did. Then I came to school and something awesome happened; I met people who were blind.
Before school I had only met a few people who were blind, but I didn’t have any friends or relatives who were blind. At school EVERYONE is blind (except a few staff), and those blind people are rocking their lives! These are students and teachers who show me daily that I don’t have to limit my expectations. No reason I couldn’t do a job that requires technology—one of the students here could run circles around most of you on the computer. No reason to choose a job due to location—my travel instructor is totally blind and spends his days traveling all over the city teaching us how to travel. No reason to choose a job based on how much reading/writing it requires—I’m surrounded by people who use technology and Braille daily to complete their jobs, take notes, read college books, write papers, etc. It’s inspiring to witness and pushes me to expect more from myself.
So as this new year begins, I find myself reconsidering my future career in a new light, no longer using my blindness as an excuse to expect less from myself. Hmmmmm.... I have reevaluated, and I chose me and my blind brothers and sisters. We are a team who will go as far as we can, as far as we want, and we, like all good teams, will help one another. A New Year’s resolution or a lifelong commitment—you guess. I know.