Introduction: Marissa Slaughter's Personal Story

Always Moving Forward

I got my first pair of bifocal glasses when I was six months old, and surprisingly, according to my parents, I actually kept them on most of the time. When I grew older, my dad called me Speedy Gonzales because I liked to run. A lot. And I ran into things. A lot. Those collisions only momentarily slowed me down, though. They never stopped me from constantly moving forward.

Middle school and high school were difficult for me, as for many other students in inclusive classrooms growing up. When I was little, I ran forward simply because my parents and other family members told me to slow down. As a teenager, I moved forward towards college because I was desperate for something better than what I was experiencing. Instead of running into walls and acquiring more than my fair share of bruises, I focused almost entirely on academics. When I was accepted to Bridgewater College, a small, liberal arts college in Virginia, I knew that I was moving forward into a new era of my life.

Throughout college, I kept moving forward, but I did not have a clear idea towards what I was heading. I majored in history because I loved (and still love) history. Even as a teenager, though, I was vocal about issues concerning people with disabilities, especially people who were blind or visually impaired.

Because I did not know you could get a degree in something related to blindness or disability, I entered the University of South Carolina’s graduate program in museum studies in 2009. I figured that my love for history would translate into a love of museums. I quickly discovered that, although I loved history, I did not have a love for museum work as a career. For a moment, I was stopped. I had no idea which way I was going. I had no purpose. My whole life up to that point was spent moving toward some goal. I suddenly found myself unsure of what my goals should be.

Thanks to a little luck and a whole lot of encouragement, a set of events was put into motion that led me to where I am today. In July 2010, I was accepted into the University of Toledo’s Master of Liberal Studies program with a concentration in disability studies. In October, my fiancĂ© and I moved to Louisville. The next summer, I began working in the Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind as an intern. Recently, I became the new Social Media Coordinator for APH. It is amazing to me that I am now working for the same company that sent me large print textbooks, a CCTV, and various other tools that assisted me growing up.

You would be mistaken if you think I’m going to say “I have arrived!” and I can stop moving forward. I hope never to stop moving forward in one way or the other. I want to learn a great deal more so that I can pass that knowledge along to you, the reader, to help you live the best, most independent life you can.

Marissa Slaughter, Social Media Coordinator, APH


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