Scholarship Spotlight: Tatiana’s Story
Congratulations to Tatiana – one of seven students who’ve been awarded GFL Scholarships this spring to pursue college degrees in STEAM. Here is her story:
It wasn’t until Tatiana was two years old that her aunt and uncle realized there might be something wrong with her hearing.
“When I was taken in by my Aunt Paula and Uncle Donnie at the age of two, no one knew I was deaf. I remember so clearly my Uncle Donnie telling me about the first time they took my sister and I out to eat at a restaurant after getting us. He described how I would take the fork and rub it against the table and place my ear on the table while doing so. At that moment, he knew there was something wrong with my hearing and we needed to get it checked out.”
After countless doctor’s appointments, Tatiana was fitted for hearing aids.
“At the age of three, I was given hearing aids and it changed my whole world.”
Wearing hearing aids took some adjusting.
“Wearing hearing aids meant that I had to attend special classes in school and take speech therapy. I enjoyed my classes and my little group of friends that were just like me. When faced with the other kids, it wasn’t as much fun. I would always get made fun of or someone would talk behind my back because they knew I wouldn’t be able to hear them. I quickly went from being this happy child to just sad and angry because I felt left out of the normal friend groups and like there was something wrong with me.”
Tatiana’s independence, mental toughness, and compassion helped her overcome the challenges. She made a point to surround herself with people and passions that built her up.
“When I would find myself feeling left out in school activities or groups because I was different, I would do things on my own. My Uncle Donnie always said I could entertain myself from a young age. As an adult, I make the conscious effort to reach out to people to do activities with and this helps me from feeling left out. I keep only a handful of friends who understand my deafness and do not see it as a problem or burden in their life.”
By overcoming her challenges, Tatiana has developed a unique outlook on life, plus confidence and empathy.
“Now as an adult, I am able to understand why children may have thought I was different. I can clearly explain to children and adults now what my hearing aids are and how that does not change me from being a person just like everyone else. I am able to make friends easily without feeling like a burden or that I am weird. This new way of living has made me fully appreciate my deafness and I can appreciate everyone else’s difference too.”
Tatiana is preparing for a bright future.
“I plan on getting my degree in Zoology to be able to research and study animals. I will achieve this by going to Oregon State University Ecampus full time and taking internships and volunteer work in the animal industry.”
We are incredibly proud of Tatiana and all of our Spring 2023 scholars! They have the full support of Games For Love in their STEAM studies and future pursuits.
Inspired by Tatiana’s story?
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