Disclose my Disability on the Application Form? Looking for Employment – Part 2

Before reading, be sure to catch Part 1 of this story!man in a suit extending hand for a shake

A question on the application made me wonder whether I should mention my blindness or not. I can’t remember the exact wording of the question, but I know it asked me to explain why I’d make a good ambassador. The only way to answer that was to tell them about my blindness.

In my answer, I mentioned how I use a lot of our campus’ resources as a blind student. And for the first time, mentioning my blindness in a job application didn’t scare me. At all. I answered the other questions, checked my work, hit the “send” button and waited to hear back.

The wait was agonizing. Every few days, I’d mention to one of my friends that I hadn’t heard anything yet. They’d politely remind me that these things take time. “Relax!” they’d say. “It’ll all be okay.”

And they were right.

During breaks from class I usually read my texts or check twitter, but for some reason one day I happened to check my email instead. And there it was. An email inviting me to the Northern Ambassadors workshop. There would be activities and…an interview.

I couldn’t help it. the A ridiculous smile leapt onto my face! My parents spent the next few days talking me through the interview process, giving me advice, and practicing interview questions on me.

I woke up on the first Saturday in March — the day of the workshop — with so much excitement. You know, the kind of excitement where I probably didn’t need that morning coffee as an extra boost to keep me awake. I was awake enough!

I had a friend drive me to the workshop, not trusting the bus to get me there on time. I didn’t have to worry — I was the first to arrive. Check-in was at 12:30, and it was only 12:15.

A friendly voice greeted me as I entered. “Hi! You’re Alicia, right?” There wasn’t one hint of awkwardness in her voice. I was just another person walking around campus, just another person coming to the workshop. Maybe she knew it was me because of my white cane, but my blindness didn’t seem to rattle her.

”That’s me” I said, adding that I prefer going by Ali. “And yes, I’m here for the workshop.”

She led me to a chair, and I sat and listened as more people filed in. Some came up to me and asked how I was doing or how my day was. I felt….normal. I hate that word – because what’s normal, anyway? But the workshop hadn’t even started yet, and already there was a sense of belonging.

The workshop lasted four hours, and most of it was team building activities. The interview came at the end, and I was the first person they called. I felt this added pressure to make a good impression. I figured the first and last students would be the ones they’d remember most.

Did Ali’s interview go well? Did the interviewers remember her afterwards? Stay tuned for Part Three of Ali’s Job diary, coming soon!


 

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  1. Marilee Says:

    Love your last line (and all of the rest too) “ the first and last students would be the ones they remember most” You would be a great guest speaker for high school college prep classes!!


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