Jamie Watts, shares her experience in the American Sign Language Program
My interest in American Sign Language began when I was in high school. This is where my dual enrollment began. My sophomore year high school, I noticed a young man who was sitting with a girl and he didn’t talk. He used his hands to communicate. This peaked my interest. I wanted to learn how to talk with him. I started taking the American Sign Language classes my Junior year. I began taking the classes and was a little nervous at first, but as I started learning, I became fascinated more than I thought I ever would be.
I took ASL 1, ASL 2, Fingerspelling, a music class, and a few Deaf Culture classes during high school. I had amazing teachers, and loved my classes. When it came to learning, I was like a sponge, and still am. I did my best to become involved in Deaf events. I made a card game for an event called Deaf Santa. I have attended every year since. I try to volunteer and help as much as I can. I graduated from high school in 2015. I enrolled in college and was accepted into Mountwest Community and Technical College. I began college the semester after I graduated high school. American Sign Language as my major.
College was an exciting experience. I met some amazing people and made some wonderful friends. I continued my education at MCTC. I got involved in more Deaf events, including Silent Dinner, and Sign in the Park. I try and attend all the events that I can because I want the Deaf Community to know that I care. During college, I took an intro to interpreting class. Honestly, I struggled with this class a little bit. It was because of a wonderful friend that I made, that I made it through this course. My friend, Erin Mills, helped me get through a rough time. We had a class together. She helped me study, and I helped her. There was a time when I felt insecure with, not only my skills, but my place in the Community. Erin helped me understand things a bit better and comforted me through this difficult time.
To continue my story, I graduated college in May 2017. It was a wonderful experience. I am happy I was given the chance to learn such a beautiful language and get involved in a wonderful community. I recently took the Certification Test for Interpreting. I am waiting for the results, but whether I pass or fail, I will remain positive. I hope to become an interpreter for the Deaf. I am not sure what field I want to work in, but I know that I want to support the Deaf. I have thought about working in schools or maybe hospitals.
Anyways, right now, I am not currently working in a place where my ASL skills used, but I practice every day. I still attend Deaf events and am trying to put my skills to use. I have been fortunate to find the thing I want to do with my life. The dual program helped me to find my passion. I am glad that I was able to be a part of it.
This essay was written by Jamie Watts, 2017 graduate of Mountwest Community and Technical College.