ATRIEV is Where I Belong
by Edrian delos Reyes
“You are blind now! Accept it and go on with your life!”
I said that line to myself numerous times, but it wasn’t that easy. It was hard for me to accept that I’m a visually impaired now. My life changed and I just couldn’t keep up with the changes.
Even though I was in an online school, I didn’t feel like I was moving forward. I took the recommended subjects for my first term, but I eventually dropped one subject. It was really hard for me because I depended on no one but myself. I was doing my best, but I knew something was wrong.
I wanted to enter a regular college, but I didn’t think that I can cope with the studies because of my poor vision. So guess what? I didn’t even try going to a regular college! No matter how hard my friends pushed me to not worry and just trust myself, I just couldn’t find the courage to even try enrolling. Maybe if I know a blind person who achieved something despite this disability, I would find the courage I needed. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the case.
I hated feeling this way—of being left behind—so I knew I had to do something. My friends are about to finish their studies, and one of them is now working despite dropping out of school. As for me, life stayed the same.
That’s when I reached out to an organization that gives different kinds of assistance to blind people. I had conversations with people who also have a visual impairment. I listened to their stories about how they travel and how college was like for them. The more I asked about them studying despite their condition, the more I became eager to enter mainstream education. And that’s when I learned about an IT school for the blind. They told me that it would be a huge help if I were to be trained there. I immediately went to ATRIEV.
I thought that ATRIEV was just an IT center for the blind, but it was more than that. Developing the trainees’ personalities and platform skills is also a part of their training. All the lessons I needed to learn, I got them with the help of ATRIEV. I became independent and can now travel alone. I also experienced being in a blind community because we, the trainees and even the trainers, are visually-impaired persons.
Most importantly, I discovered that my life can still be meaningful. I was able to help others, and I look forward to helping more people, just like how ATRIEV helped me to accept who I am now. With all honesty, I want to be a part of this community for the rest of my life because here, my heart is in the right place.