Some students have unique lives compared to their peers. Gloria Rodriguez is different from others because she’s legally blind, but this doesn’t keep her from having dreams and aspirations.
Rodriquez, a Running Start student at Pierce College Puyallup, has a life story that sheds light for those who also are dealing with unexpected circumstances.
Rodriguez was born blind, and during the course of her early children, she had several surgeries done in hopes of improving her vision. Her eyesight improved after the surgeries, but it didn’t stay that way for long.
Rodriguez’s vision worsened and she now has 20/200 vision in her right eye and is completely blind in her left eye.
She also explains that on sunnier days her weak vision worsens from the light. It’s these days that she has to use her walking stick in order to get around campus.
Fortunately, she’s in the process of getting her first service dog.
Despite these obstacles, Rodriquez said she’s at peace with the hand she was dealt.
Throughout her life, she struggled with being blind. Having to grow up learning English as a second language to Spanish didn’t make life any easier. School was a constant struggle, but she continued to push herself.
Rodriguez said her parents were always supportive in all the right ways.
She said her parents loved and encouraged her to always try her best and be happy with whatever path she chose. Even with their strong efforts to support Rodriquez with her visual impairment, there are some things they can’t comprehend.
“They never really can understand, I kind of had to do it all on my own,” Rodriguez said.
She said kindergarten was challenging and that she got accustomed to working extra hard. Reading school handouts had always been a difficulty, but thanks to assistive technology, she was able to zoom in on any image for a better look.
There are small drawbacks, such as listening to a lecture from a professor while they give directions.
“Put this here and that over there” are phrases that don’t help individuals who can’t see what they’re talking about.
For this reason, Rodriguez isn’t afraid to express her distaste of mathematics.
Despite these hurdles, she still does her best no matter what the situation is.
The Americans with Disabilities Act has been helpful as it has permitted Pierce College to offer peer helpers for those who need it, along with other accommodations.
“Thank God for my peer note taker,” Rodriquez said.
Rodriquez is working towards continuing her education no matter the struggles she’s had to face.
She is working toward her dream to one day study volcanoes, especially Mt. Rainer.
Despite difficulties, Rodriquez said she strives to live her days with a positive attitude and strong aspiration for a continued education.
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