It's been about a year since I graduated from Keystone College. A small Liberal Arts institution, located in a little area known as La Plume, PA. Everyday, I think about my experiences there and how they shaped me as a man. You see, Keystone College is different, it's an extremely special place. It's almost like there's something in the air. You step foot on campus, surrounded by the beautiful nature and as you look around you can almost feel it instantly, like you're part of a family. That's exactly what the Keystone College community is, a family.
I got there in 2011, nervous and maybe a little scared, but I had a thirst to prove myself. A thirst to prove that someone disabled like me, could not only survive in a college environment, but thrive in one. However, the process wasn't as scary or as difficult as I thought it would be.Trust me, I had to prove myself for sure, but not like I thought. I didn't have to prove that I was like everyone else, everyone already thought I was. The staff and students, looked me in the eyes and didn't bother to glance at my walker and when it did come up, they weren't afraid to laugh, joke and even bust my chops a bit.
However, as we all know, there's a certain maturation process that takes place during college. We all grow and change hopefully, for the better. Keystone College is full of great faculty and staff. A faculty and staff that aren't just concerned about teaching you from a book, but also teaching you about life and real experiences. I grew up in an extremely rural area, full of about 98% straight, white people. Keystone College's diversity for the area is tremendous. As someone who grew up just 45 minutes away, it was a bit of a culture shock. The campus prides itself on being accepting of everyone and everything, including the LGBT community. It helped me step out of the bubble I saw society through and learn about and grow with all different types of people.
I guess the point I'm trying to get at is, Keystone College was the perfect place for me. I can go on and on about my experiences there and how truly different the place is from other institutions, but I don't think 500 words or even 1000 would come close to doing it justice. But what I can say, is that if your looking for a small school, a small school where you can make an impact and feel accepted as a part of something, then it's the place for you. There's an atmosphere that can't fully be explained, one that makes you want to bleed the Orange and Blue. There are people and personalities there that will stick with you for a lifetime. I've learned so much about myself and life from Keystone College. I've said it many times, It might not be a big university, right in the middle of a big city, but if you put the effort in, it can change your life forever. Keystone College made me feel like I belonged, it taught me to believe in myself and it's helping me become the man I want to be.