Don't Change Your Expectations Of Someone Because They Can't See

Don't Change Your Expectations Of Someone Because They Can't See

Expecting people to fail just pushes them one step closer to failure.

Expecting people to fail just pushes them one step closer to failure.

In my Advanced English 11 class back in October, we studied rhetoric. At the end of this unit, we each had to write a four to six-minute persuasive speech about anything. I chose to write mine about how we need to hold people who are blind or visually impaired to the same standards as everyone else.


We need to believe in people who are blind or visually impaired and hold them to the same standards as everyone else. I grew up and am growing up with very supportive parents. They never put barriers on me. When I wanted to ride horses or ski or surf, they never told me that I couldn't because I can't see. They sent me to regular, public school from my first day of pre-school until hopefully the day I graduate. But I am lucky. I'm lucky to have been living with people who believe in me and who do not try to tell me whether I can or cannot do things based on my disability. I live in a family where I am held to the same standards as my sighted sisters. My family, friends and mentors focus on my ability not my disability. I think that is the reason I have such high goals like law school.

And not everyone is lucky enough to have that.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 only 17.5 percent of people with disabilities were employed. That percentage terrifies me. That percentage makes my blood run cold and turns my knees to jelly. That percentage tightens my throat and makes my palms sweat. That percentage means that the other 82.5 percent of people with disabilities are unemployed.

And every single day I pray that I don't end up in that 82.5 percent.

We're in high school, we know. We know the anxiety of planning for our futures. Now imagine that anxiety coupled with an 82.5 percent chance of failure. That's about where I am right now and where every single other blind and visually impaired person is.

Now I think that I am being a little over anxious. I have a good foundation. I have gone to summer programs to learn the skills I will need to get a job and to work. I am not here to talk about me.

The real problem is that people with visual impairments cannot believe in themselves if nobody else believes in them. How are people with visual impairments ever going to be able to lead a productive life when they are called amazing for doing something simple like crossing a street? I'm scared for myself, but I'm more scared for the child who has been sheltered. I'm scared for the child whose mom clutches her hand as she walks around the neighborhood park with her white cane in front.

I've been so fortunate that when I was younger, I really didn't think I was that blind. I thought that I saw just like everyone else, I just couldn't see the print on papers. I didn't know that if you stand a foot away from someone, you're supposed to be able to see their face and their expresssion. You're supposed to see their hair color, their eyes and nose and mouth. All I see is a light blur where their face is. Just a smudge telling me that there is a person there. I didn't know that when I look at a treeline, I'm supposed to be able to see individual trees, branches and leaves. Instead, I just see a dark mass blocking the rest of the landscape. I've adapted to that because I've had to. I've been thrown into a world with people who can see normally and that's how it should be for everyone.

If you throw a person with low vision into special, super adapted classes for their whole life, how will they ever be able to adapt to the real world? How will they learn to advocate for themselves? Going to college and getting a job is already hard without vision loss. I know because my sister is going through it right now. But if you hold a kid's hand for the first 18 years of their life and then suddenly let go, do you really think it's fair to expect them to be successful?

It's hard not to give in to the expectations some people put on me. It's hard when some of my blind friends get exempt from things like gym class or participation or certain projects and tests. They get easy outs, and I can't help but be jealous when one of them doesn't even have to take Chemistry.

But I don't want to be like them. How good is it going to be for them in the long run? It's not. The real world doesn't work like that at all. I'm glad every day that I am held to the same standards as all of you.

I think it's really hard for people to realize that blind or visually impaired people are actually very capable of doing things on their own. I mean, if I put a scarf over your eyes and told you to go cross the street, don't tell me you wouldn't be scared. And the thing is, that's what is happening to blind people who are babied for their entire lives. There are ways for blind and visually impaired people to do things, but they will never learn if those things are always done for them.

Every May, I go to a sports camp for people who are blind or visually impaired. The motto there is "to Believe you can Achieve." I want every single person with a visual impairment, or any disability, to believe they can achieve and experience the magic of that camp. I want every single person in this room, and every single person in this world, to believe that the kid in the wheelchair, or the kid with a speech impairment, or the autistic kid, or me, the blind girl, can achieve. We want the adults in our lives to believe in us. We want them to stop treating us like children because we're growing up, and I feel the same exact way about every single person who doesn't believe in me or anyone with visual impairment because we can't see.

Cover Image Credit: Google

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.

Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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The Truth About Narcan, Insulin, And Who Pays For What

"Stupid junkies, I have to pay for my Insulin but they get Narcan FOR FREE. Can you believe that?"



Let's talk about it. Naloxone, commonly referred to as Narcan or Evzio is a "medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose." According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Naloxone basically reverses the effects of an overdose.

As you see on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and every other social media platform in the world, "junkies" get indirectly bashed, undermined, and in a nutshell, told that they don't deserve a place on earth.

The most common argument used by "non-addicts" is "I have to pay for my Insulin for my diabetes, but they get Narcan for free? Wow, our government sucks and the system is a joke."

For those of you that don't know, diabetes is a disease in which the body's ability to produce or respond to the hormone, insulin, is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood and urine.

There are two types of this disease: Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes that result from a variety of different factors. Diabetes can be acquired through genetics but can also be personally obtained through lifestyle, depending on the type. Aside from genetics and being born into a diabetic family, you may also be diagnosed with diabetes as a result of physical inactivity, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, and being overweight. In other words, if you let your body go, don't work out or do some type of physical activity, let your high blood pressure go untreated, and eat unhealthy foods; you have a chance of developing diabetes.

Next, let's talk about prices.

On average, Insulin costs $200 monthly. This depends on the brand, personal insurance, coupons, and other factors such as organizations that help people get cheaper insulin.

Narcan nasal spray costs $130 for a two-time use. You can buy it at CVS Pharmacy (and other pharmacies) in states such as Ohio, Arkansas, California, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin. Some of these states may require a prescription.

Now that you know that Narcan/Evzio isn't free, it's time to talk about other charges that are brought upon addicts when they overdose. If an ambulance is called, they have to pay for it. If they are sent to the emergency room, they also have to pay for that.

The idea that "junkies" get Narcan for free is something society has made up to make drug users feel even more guilt than they already do from having an addiction alone.

Believe it or not, most of us are addicted to something that can be fatal or cause illness/injury. If you eat processed foods or sugar ridden foods every day, chances are you have an addiction to sugar. The withdrawal that someone has from quitting sugar is similar to the withdrawal that one goes through from quitting heroin. You get a splitting headache, you have cold sweats, you are moody, and it makes you sick. If you drink coffee all day on most days and you try to quit, it results in an awful headache for a few days. The addiction to cigarettes and the withdrawal that people go through for that speaks for itself; we all know a smoker or an ex-smoker.

Instead of following social norms, degrading drug users and putting ourselves on a pedestal because we don't use heroin or another "hard drug," we should advocate for the health and stand up for each other. If you see someone on the street that you know is a drug user, pull them aside and pray with them. Help them find a better life. Recommend church, rehab, or any other ideas that may be at your fingertips to mention.

The moral of the story is this: we all have an addiction, hypocrisy is at it's finest thanks to social media, and we are all human. Walk a mile in someone else's shoes before you judge them. It doesn't cost a dime to shed light on someone's life, especially when they are in need.

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