7 Advantages Of Being Visually Impaired

7 Advantages Of Being Visually Impaired

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So I decided to start writing for Odyssey because I thought I could bring a unique perspective to some issues that people tend to be pretty uncomfortable talking about. I’m a visually impaired student at Dartmouth, and while most people know of me as the girl that always seems to tag along with her guide dog, Smidge, or as the girl who has literally run into you trying to maneuver my way around Collis, I tend to feel like a lot of my Dartmouth relationships are rather superficial. Anyone that knows me well would tell you, I am really open to talking about my sight and my experiences.

Disability has such a negative connotation. I’ll be the first person to tell you there are some challenges that come along with being legally blind, but I would be remised to say that it’s all bad. I think it’s important to be able to acknowledge some of the positive aspects of what might usually be considered a not- so- great situation. So here are a few of the advantages that comes with being visually impaired.

1. I always have an excuse to wear mismatched clothes

Half the time I walk out of my dorm looking like an absolute mess! I’m partially color blind so matching clothes isn’t really my strong suit. Whenever people ask me about why my socks don’t match or why I’m wearing an obscure combination of colors, I can always just tell them it’s because I couldn’t tell what I was putting on.

2. I never have to be the designated driver

No one would ever want me behind the wheel of the car so I’ll never have to stay sober and drive my friends home at the end of a night out.

3. I don’t judge people off of how they look

Unlike most people, I actually mean it when I say looks don’t matter. I base my relationships purely off of personality. I usually miss physical features that are immediately obvious for most people, which I think really helps me because I make my first impressions of people solely off of their personalities.

4. I get to bring my dog wherever I go.

Perks of being blind is that I get to take my dog wherever I go. However, my guide dog is very specifically trained to help me safely navigate to wherever I need to be. Fake service dogs are a huge issue and are not in any way okay, but I would be lying to you if I said I don’t love always having my dog with me. She’s my best friend and I know she’s always looking out for me. She gives me independence I never knew before I had a guide dog, and because of that I am so grateful to have her in my life.

5. I don’t need to obey signs if I can’t read them

I usually don’t see signs that are posted up on doors. As far as I’m concerned that means they probably don’t apply to me.

6. I have the greatest most genuine friends in the world

Being legally blind means that sometimes I leave my house with makeup smeared all over my face, or with my bathing suit on inside out, and the fact that I can trust my friends enough to tell me those things and laugh at me for them makes me realize how lucky I am to have those kinds of people in my life

7. I have opportunity I would definitely not have if I could see.

A lot of people know that I am a United States Paralympic Alpine ski racer, but most people don’t realize how much opportunity skiing has given me. Skiing has shape my character in ways that are unparalleled to anything else in my life. In the last year I have traveled to seven different countries and gotten to explore the world with some of my closest friends. All of my teammates come from different backgrounds and walks of life. I have learned to be accepting and understanding of others and to juggle so many different parts of my life all at once. I would be a totally different person if I had full vision and I am so grateful for every opportunity I have been given.

Cover Image Credit: Allison Frantz

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Andy Ruiz Jr. May Not Look Like The Typical Boxer, But It Doesn't Make His Victory Any Less Deserved

Andy Ruiz Jr. just proved that dreams can come true.

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On June 1, boxing fans witnessed something special as Andy 'Destroyer' Ruiz Jr. defeated Anthony Joshua via TKO after going seven rounds in the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York City to become the first ever Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world. Ruiz Jr. (33-1) was a heavy underdog (+1100) heading into the match-up with Joshua (22-1) but ultimately flipped the script to hand the British fighter his first professional loss ever. Surely the fight will go down as one of the greatest moments in sports history.

Some members of the media and fans have been quick to label the fight as a 'fluke' and 'rigged' which in the end is no surprise to me. That always happens in the sports world. Many did not believe we would get this result yet failed to remember the one rule of sports -- expect the unexpected. Over the past week, I've been coming to the defense of Ruiz Jr. in the wake of others choosing to call him a joke.

I was shocked and surprised to hear two of my favorite sports analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe, make fun of Ruiz Jr. and frame him as just a guy that looked like 'Butterbean.' When I viewed their tweets on social media it honestly made me upset. Sure, Ruiz Jr. may not have fit the mold of what a professional boxer should look like, but they simply should not have just judged a book by its cover.

Personally, I thought it was disrespectful for Smith and Sharpe to throw shade at Ruiz Jr. in the way they did. I felt like they should have done a better job of acknowledging the winner considering the result of the match. Yet choosing to bash someone because of their physical composition appeared like a low blow. The very foundation of sports allows people of all shapes, sizes, genders, races, and backgrounds to compete -- that's why most people follow them in the first place.

Smith was open behind his reasoning for his tweets in which I'd like to shed some light on. Smith was upset about how boxing time after time contains elements of corruption with fans having to wait years until promoters schedule big fights. He along with other followers of the sport were looking forward to the highly anticipated yet potential future match-up between Joshua and fellow heavyweight Deontay Wilder. Smith believes that by Ruiz Jr. beating Joshua it essentially diminished the chances of that fight ever happening with the same amount of buildup, but that still doesn't provide any excuse for mocking the new heavyweight champ.

Ruiz Jr. was there for a reason and ultimately seized the opportunity that was right in front of him -- that's not his fault for getting the job done. Just because someone doesn't look like the part doesn't mean they don't possess the same qualities and characteristics as their counterparts. The following pair of videos display the amount of talent Ruiz Jr. does have in the ring. Even fellow boxer Canelo Alvarez and former UFC lightweight/featherweight champion Conor McGregor acknowledge that and have come out to say something on their behalf.

Unfortunately, I don't expect much to change because most will stand their ground and continue to behave the same way. All I'm saying is I did not enjoy some of the top figures within sports media stereotyping Ruiz Jr. based on his looks. I would think that we would be better than that and recognize that anyone can accomplish something great in this world. It all just starts with a simple dream.

I understand and respect other people's takes on this subject, maybe I'm looking into things deeper than what they are, but it struck a chord with me and I felt the need to say something about it.

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