Having a disability can deflate a person’s confidence going into college, but Elijah Hummel has looked past his disability to make the best out of being at Hudson Valley.
“I’ve been told that despite how tough things may be or how difficult a challenge you might face, things will be okay,” said Hummel. “You will be able to get over that hill at some point,” he said.
An individual studies Major, Hummel suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a type of autism. “I was diagnosed with it many years ago and I didn’t even know at the time,” said Hummel.
Coming to Hudson Valley was a choice Hummel made after people let him know what opportunities could be provided for him. “When I first started off as a student, I made everyday an adventure taking classes that were very challenging,” said Hummel. “It’s been a blast from there,” he said.
Entering Hudson Valley was scary for Hummel given that he was previously bullied and ridiculed for his disability. “I was scared of what the people might think of me here, and if I would be able to fit in,” said Hummel.
Being a college student with a disability, Hummel struggles in certain areas. “I struggle when it comes to academics, depending on what the subject might be,” said Hummel. “I am very good with projects, homework and my attendance is perfect,” he said.
As Hummel progressed at Hudson Valley, he found that there were several supportive services for him on campus such as the Center for Access and Assistive Technology office, the Academic Engagement office and the Wellness Center.
“I was reassured by people along the way that I have become more than just an ordinary student, and I hope to keep improving myself as time goes on,” said Hummel.
Hummel has also found himself being a part of some clubs across campus. He is the club president of the “Not a Bit of Difference” club and a member of the Asperger’s group. “I’ve been a part of these clubs since I came here and they have been wonderful,” said Hummel. “I have made many friends through these clubs as well,” said Hummel.
“Having Aspergers and autism is kind of normal for a person such as me and then there are those people who have a more severe case of it,” said Hummel. “I communicate with them and tell them that things will be okay and not to let people bully you.” Hummel used to be afraid to share stories about his disability, but now he feels much more confident talking about his story.
One thing Hummel wants students with disabilities to know is that it’s okay to be scared, but to try it out and take small steps to see what you like. Hummel plans to continue his time at Hudson Valley part-time, and hopes to have a career in something that he enjoys.
“When I do graduate Hudson Valley, I see myself having a career in something that I like to do. I could see myself being anything I want to be such as a comic writer, historian, state worker or whatever else I want,” said Hummel.