DO-IT Pizza Party: A New Scholar Takes a Bite

Yomara, Phase I Scholar

My favorite radio station playing, the wind in my hair, and the memories I had from a wonderful school spirit day were replaying in my head. I was wearing all black, because I had taken off my gold boa. (My school colors are black and gold.) My parents and I were going to the DO-IT pizza party, and I was excited because the UW is a school I want to attend! We were the first ones to arrive. I waited a half an hour and then entered the party after I saw that four other people had arrived.

I walked, no wait, rolled in. Right away, I was greeted by smiles. Now you may think I was calm and cool, but that means you have no clue who I am. I worry all the time, and I get nervous easily. To make matters worse, I have never really hung out with people with disabilities. Most of my friends are "normal" (yeah right, they are weirdos, but I love them).

At first I saw people that were physically disabled. Then, Debra, a DO-IT staff member, brought older Scholars Maria and Jesus over to talk to me. My vocal cords are perfectly fine, but at that moment my voice cracked. I was astonished when I heard that Maria had a learning disability, when she looked perfectly fine! Then another older Scholar, Gabe, rolled in on a scooter, and I was frozen. I thought, how is this guy so motivated to go out in public and be so cool? I literally felt like a grain of sand in a big wide ocean-how can I compare to Gabe who is so comfortable in his own skin?

My wonderful parents are the glue holding me together (I'm an only child, so I feel even more spoiled). But then, they took my parents away to the DO-IT parent meeting, and I felt totally abandoned. I felt like I was going to die! I got a name tag, and right away I saw that everyone on the DO-IT staff was extremely nice. Yet, me being me, I decided not to eat because I was too nervous.

Maria and Jesus wheeled me over to a corner where I asked them questions. They answered each one (at least fifty), and I sat there just staring and listening. People talked to me, but I was so shy I felt like I shut them out. I regret that...

Later in the evening other new and older Scholars Nejowa, Mack, Sam, Ashlee, and Noah, joined the conversation. I answered when people asked me something, but I feel now that I could have made more of an effort. Nonetheless, I got to meet some pretty interesting people and everyone was nice. It felt like home, only better, because when you have a physical disability people tend to give you a look or treat you differently. With DO-IT there are no weird looks and everyone just treats you like a "normal" person with feelings.

My parents and I left DO-IT at 7:45 p.m. and on our way back home we stopped at Northgate Mall (remember I had not eaten). I filled up at Chipotle and all I could do was think about the DO-IT pizza party. If that was a DO-IT experience then I couldn't wait to go to Summer Study as a Phase I Scholar! Although I was still a little worried about Summer Study, (that's just me, I don't think I'll ever stop worrying!) the pizza party definitely made me more comfortable about the program and my upcoming Summer Study experience.