Jamie Watts' interest in American Sign Language began when she was in high school, which is where her dual enrollment began. In her sophomore year, she noticed a young man who was sitting with a girl and he didn’t talk. He used his hands to communicate. This piqued her interest. She 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," Jamie said. "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."
Jamie did her best to become involved in Deaf events, made a card game, and tries to volunteer and help as much as she can.
After she graduated from high school in 2015, she was accepted into Mountwest Community and Technical College. She began college the semester after I graduated high school, with American Sign Language -- her passion -- as her major.
“I am happy I was given the chance to learn such a beautiful language and get involved in a wonderful community.” —Jamie Watts
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.