I transferred from UW-Milwaukee to the University of Minnesota on a cheerleading scholarship. I needed to take either math classes or language classes to fulfill my requirements. ASL was under languages and I had always wanted to learn.
I’ll never forget my level 1 ASL class. All of the students in class were nervous. We’d learned that this teacher was the hardest of all the levels, and was deaf! (Well, all of my ASL teachers were deaf.) I had no idea how this was going to work. She came in and told us with, using ASL and little writing, that we were never to use our voices. We must figure out how to ask her questions, and how to use the waving of our hand to get her attention. If she saw you speak, you’d get kicked out of class. I would come out of class talking SO LOUD for the first semester because I couldn’t stand the silence for that long, but I eventually got used to it.
I didn’t need to take all 5 levels of ASL at U of MN, but I did. I loved the language so much and there really is nothing better than hearing a deaf person laugh. Making someone laugh in their own language is like winning the lottery to me. Plus, the idea that a deaf person can’t hear their voice but feel it, tells me that they’re really feeling that emotion. They really feel the funny.
I transferred to the U of MN for 3 main reasons:
1. My boyfriend was going there
2. Big 10 cheerleading scholarship
3. One of the few schools that had an advertising program (ended up getting scholarships for this as well)
Well, I eventually broke up with my boyfriend, I competed nationally with the cheer team for 2 years and I got a mentor in advertising. After I graduated, I was conflicted. I loved ASL so much and wanted to become an interpreter, but I had no idea how to go about doing that. The teachers really didn’t offer much guidance with this. My advertising mentor gave me a lot of guidance in how to get into advertising. She told me about VCU Adcenter (now known as VCU Brandcenter). It was the #1 school in the nation. So I thought, if I can’t get into that school as an art director (which only accepted 20 copywriters, 20 art directors and 20 account people) I would try to figure out how to become an interpreter.
Well, I got into VCU Adcenter.
I’ve worked in the ad industry since 2001.
I’ll probably always have my hand in the industry in some way, shape, or form.
But I eventually got into improv. Which got me into acting. Which showed me what I really, truly love to do. Acting often causes me to reflect on my life and the things I love to do and what brings me joy…and how much I missed sign language.
It was after I worked at one of my most favorite companies ever, Salesforce (that place and the people that work there are so awesome), that I thought to myself of how great it would be to keep working at things I really love to do. I missed ASL so much, this would be the perfect time to get back into it.
I’m currently taking ASL classes at Pierce College and I love it. I don’t know if I’ll be an interpreter or something else in the Deaf community, but I know I love it. My Deaf culture class is the most interesting class ever. I tell my boyfriend and friends every day the new things I learn in this class. I’m exciting to keep things grooving at Pierce. My message to you, it’s never to late to play in new things or revisit things you loved long ago.
Here’s one of my assignments from Creative Sign: