MY COLLEGE DECISION JOURNEY
On January 21, 2022, I was not expecting an email from Georgia Tech. I had spent the previous semester applying to sixteen colleges and universities, one of which was Georgia Tech, but my admission decision was not supposed to be released until the following week. Hesitantly, I opened the email and began to read, and the contents were a bigger surprise than I could have imagined. Not only had I been admitted to the class of 2026, but I and 172 other out-of-state applicants had been selected as semifinalists for Georgia Tech’s two most prestigious scholarships, The Stamps President’s Scholarship, and the Gold Scholarship. The Stamps President’s Scholars program would provide a full ride for eight semesters, including tuition, books, room and board, and some personal expenses, plus $1100 for a laptop and $12000 for unpaid research, conferences, and study abroad. The Gold Scholars program would reduce my tuition to that of in-state students, Lowering the cost of attendance by around $20000. Needless to say, I was ecstatic, and in the end, I was one of twenty out-of-state finalists to be granted the Stamps President’s Scholarship. As a prospective mathematics major, Georgia Tech seemed like the perfect fit for me, and with my education fully funded and a community of my fellow Stamps Scholars, I just knew that I would spend the next four years of my life at the nerdiest school in the south. When I was denied admission from the University of Chicago, Swarthmore College, Washington University in St. Louis, Rice University, and Vanderbilt University, I could not muster too much disappointment, and I told myself that after April 1, the day after my final decisions would come in, I would commit to Tech.
I have long known that life has a way of throwing curveballs into our path at the last minute, but I never expected the one that came hurtling my way on March 31, the day of the Ivy League decisions. I had applied to both Harvard and Yale, not expecting to get in, and my denials at all but one of the private universities to which I applied only strengthened that expectation. When I opened my Harvard admission decision, I braced myself for a small pang of disappointment, so when the first word of my decision letter after the greeting was “Congratulations,” I was shocked to my core. At first, I thought that finances would make my decision easy; how could I turn down a full ride at Tech? However, my Harvard financial package turned out to be almost a full ride as well, and as I have done further research and talked to current students at both schools, my decision has only become more difficult. I have several variables to weigh, but I know that I will be fine at either school, and my problem is a good one.
As I contemplate the next few years, it is daunting to realize that before I know it, I will be finding my first job post-college graduation or applying to graduate school. After studying mathematics in college, I hope to pursue further education and a career in biostatistics, bioinformatics, or cybersecurity, but I know that I will soon discover fields of which I was completely unaware, so I am open to exploration. I suppose only time and my own choices will tell where I will end up, but for now, I am going to make my final college decision, finish my senior year, and hopefully get some rest before I transition to the next phase of my life.
All meetings are via Zoom unless otherwise noted.
Confirm these dates when you receive your monthly calendar.
15-Deadline for mini-grant submission
19-Leadership Meeting; 7:00 pm
22-Chat on the Porch; 7:30 pm
25-Health Chat: 7:30 pm
27-Game Night; 7:00 pm
6-Membership Meeting; 7:00 pm
10, 24-Game Night; 7:00 pm
11-Book Club; m7:30
12, 26-Chat on the Porch; 7:30 pm
15-Deadline for mini-grant submission
16-Leadership Meeting; 7:00 pm
22-Health Chat: 7:30 pm
9-Book Club; 7:30
14,28-Game Night; 7:00 pm
10,24-Chat on the Porch; 7:30 pm
15-Deadline for mini-grant submission
21-Leadership Meeting; 7:00 pm
24-Club VIBES picnic; 4:00 pm
27-Health Chat: 7:30 pm
IS NEW THIS MONTH ON OUR BLOG PAGE?
THE CURSE THAT COMES AT NIGHT
Many (or actually most) folks who have no vision, specifically those with no light perception, have trouble sleeping at night. What is this and what can you do about it? You can get the answer by reading John's blog. Click here to read John's blog.
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SUE AND SARAH TAKE BEEPING KICKBALL TO UT
Every year Sue is invited to "teach" the UT VOLeaders (Vol students with athletic scholarships) class about the importance of including sports/physical activities in the lives of those with disabilities and how sports can be modified to meet the needs of the participants. The class gets real hands-on experience when Sue teaches them to play beeping kickball. The students see how a traditional game is altered for those who are blind or visually impaired and how kickball and other games can be modified for various disabilities. It was a lot of fun watching these talented athletes running around trying to find the beeping ball while blindfolded.
A COUPLE OF BOOKS THAT YOU MIGHT ENJOY
There are two books that are about living a full life as a blind person. The first book is
Blind Ambition: How to go from Victim to Visionary
by Chad E Foster
This is an inspiring book with lots of local ties. The author is from Halls, graduated from UT, and is the first blind person to graduate from the Harvard Business School leadership program after which he began his climb up the cooperate ladder. Chad lost his vision as a child and an important part of his adjustment to his blindness (Retinitis Pigmentosa) revolved around his getting a dog from Leader which, was sponsored by a Knoxville Lions Club. There are lots of good, if unconventional, lessons for teachers, parents, and students. The story moves pretty quickly.
This book is available at Amazon.com and on Audible. Click here to go to the book at Amazon.com
The second book also has some local (almost) ties.
by Jay Hardwig
The author of this book is a certified teacher of the visually impaired, an O&M instructor, and the director of camps for children with vision loss.
The book is about Maria, a blind sixth-grader who wants to be just a normal kid; not helpless, not weird, not amazing, and especially not the blind girl. She partners with a classmate to find a missing girl, and Maria learns some important life lessons. This book is for ages 7 and up and seems to be available in print only. Click here to go to the book at Amazon.com.
WALKING WITH DELTA GAMMA
Slowly, Club Vibes is returning to face-to-face activities. One of the activities that we especially enjoy is Sunday walks with Delta Gamma. We have walked at the West Hills Greenway, Cherokee Blvd, and Safety City.
PAIGE ENJOYED HER WALK
Last Sunday, four of us were able to go walking with The Delta Gamma girls. About 19 people showed up in all. When we started, I walked with a girl named Macey. She was pretty fun to talk to and I discovered that she wanted to be an occupational therapist. We walked for about 30 minutes. It was a good experience and I enjoyed talking to the girl.
SAVE THE DATE
Prior to Covid, Club VIBES held an annual summer picnic where everyone involved with Vibes gathered for delicious food, played games, and caught up with those that we did not see on a regular basis. After Covid required us to cancel summer gatherings, we are resuming the summer picnic. This will give us a chance to reconnect in person with those that we have only been able to see on Zoom. In addition, we can congratulate and give our best wishes to our members who are off to college. VIBES will provide the main dish and guests are asked to bring a dish to share. More details will be coming.
WHEN: July 24, at 4:00 pm
WHERE: Safety City, 165 S. Concord St:
Pictured above: front, Sarah; left, Illya; center back, Jacoby; right, Owen. Not pictured is Campbell
PARTING IS SUCH SWEET SORROW
This quote from Romeo and Juliet has recently proven to be true for VIBES members, volunteers, and friends. All within a few months of each other, four VIBES members have found opportunities that are leading them away. We are very proud of them but also very sorry to lose them to their new endeavors. We had a "congratulations and farewell" gathering to wish them well. Here are their plans.
I have completed my course of study at Pellissippi Community College and now I am ready to transfer to MTSU to complete my college degree in Communications. In May, I will be participating in MTSU Customs, a new student orientation program that, in a nutshell, shows new students the ropes of being a student at MTSU. I am excited to meet with my advisors and choose my very first classes for my first semester at MTSU.
As far as my plans after college... That's a difficult question to answer. This is the best way I can put it: I once read something that said, "apply to everything." AS extreme as that might be, the person that wrote it might have a point. Applying to everything does not mean you'll get into everything, or even be a part of all of it. It just means that the activities or the events that you are a part of getting your name out there, not only with professors but also with potential employers. To make a short point even shorter, I do not know where I will be two years from now, but I do know that I have a plan to get there.
It is nice being in a city that offers all kinds of free entertainment and cultural events. I live across the street from a park where they offer live concerts and neighborhood get-togethers during the warm months.
I am really impressed with the resources available to blind people. Voc Rehab really provides a lot of helpful services. My counselor is available to drive me around to physically check out employment opportunities. She will also help with applications and assessments, as most of the assessments are not JAWS friendly. They will purchase equipment for work as needed and provide transportation to work until I get set up with call-a-ride. Voc Rehab will also pay for job training if needed. They try to make finding employment as stress-free as possible.
I joined the local chapter of the MO Council for the Blind, which is affiliated with the American Council for the Blind. ACB is having its conference this year in Omaha, Nebraska. Unfortunately, I missed the deadline to apply.
I am looking forward to checking out the other resources available.
I will be entering graduate school in the fall at Belmont University for a Master of Science in Strategic Communication and Leadership with the hopes of one day directing a non-profit organization.
In January 2022, I was accepted into the accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. This program is a year-long Bachelor's Degree program for students who already have previous Bachelor's degrees in other majors. The program will start on June 1 and I will graduate with my BSN in May 2023. After completing this program, I plan to continue my nursing studies at UT and hope to obtain my Doctorate of Nursing Practice. I am looking forward to returning to UT and diving into this next field of study. I want to thank everyone for their continued support throughout my educational journey as I work toward a career in the healthcare field.
I am off to college next year. I have received two amazing scholarship offers, from Georgia Tech and from Harvard, and a scholarship from the National Federation of the Blind of Tennessee. Following a tough decision, I am heading to Harvard. After studying mathematics in college, I hope to pursue further education and a career in biostatistics, bioinformatics, cybersecurity, or maybe even a new field that I have yet to discover.
THE HUB TAKES A BREAK
Monthly meetings of The Hub are paused for the summer. We'll let you know when we resume in the fall.
GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS
VIBES members meet monthly to make upcoming plans for the club, share news, and discuss topics relevant to those who are blind or visually impaired. We are sad to learn that Owen N. has been diagnosed with liver cancer. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. We also send wishes for a speedy recovery to Marian following back surgery. Sophie will make a presentation at the June meeting about her senior research project at Johnson University.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
A new group has been formed to explore information and ask questions about health. Members can interact via Zoom with a health professional to ask a variety of questions. This group meets monthly on the fourth Wednesday.
MINI-GRANT NUMBER TWO HAS BEEN AWARDED
Jacoby is the second person to receive a mini-grant from Club VIBES. Like Said, our previous recipient, Jacoby asked for the grant to enable him to purchase a PC computer with JAWS and instruction from IFB Solutions so that he can make full use of his new device. Jacoby is now enjoying a full life after his successful kidney transplant more than a year ago. A new computer was a must for Jacoby who is about to begin graduate school. According to Jacoby, "The ease of the widely used software of JAWs will help to increase my productivity and independence for both academic and professional work as I begin to venture out and start a career. Thank you Club VIBES for all the assistance you have offered in making my future plans a reality."
WOW! A MAGNIFIER WITH TEXT-TO-SPEECH
The Juno, sold by the American Printing House for the Blind, is a magnifier that is designed to accommodate the needs of students and adults with low vision. Juno is a great magnifying solution for use during work and recreational activities. It can capture and process multiple pages of printed text using Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Users can either read the text on Juno’s 7-inch LCD screen with 2x-30x magnification and 24 high-contrast color modes, or have it read aloud to them using text-to-speech (TTS). To view a YouTube video demonstrating click here. To view Juno on the APH website, click here.Juno sells for $1392.