The First Time by Cricket Bidleman

From the Editor: Moving into college is a daunting experience for any prospective student: but in NABS, we know the specific challenges that blind students face in transitioning to campus life. In this blog post, Cricket Bidleman shares her college decision for this Fall and the journey she took to get there; from high school Biology to the BLIND, Inc. summer program.

When I first made the decision to attend the PREP program at BLIND, Inc. I was a little nervous. I had never lived in an apartment separate from my family. I had never been responsible for doing my own laundry, I had never had the opportunity to cook, and I had never attended a training center. Nevertheless, I still thought it was the right decision… And I still think it’s one of the best decisions I ever made.

I’m Cricket Bidleman. I live in California, and this fall, I will be attending Stanford University as part of the new class of freshmen. I made sure to take all of the most rigorous classes in high school. I got out of my comfort zone by taking choir and also by raising chickens as part of my biology class. Yes, that actually happened.

Despite all of the chicken-raising, music-singing, and book-reading, there was one area of knowledge I was dreadfully deficient in. I had no idea how to cook or clean. Imagine being the only student on the entire Stanford campus who couldn’t do their own laundry… I wasn’t having any of that, so I decided to attend BLIND, Inc.

The last two months have been full of firsts. For the first time, I lived in an apartment. For the first time, I traveled completely independently to places I’d never been before… Without Uber… For the first time, I had to do dishes, and laundry, and cooking… And for the first time, I felt capable of something completely non-academic.

Now I feel prepared to tackle the challenges I’m sure to face at Stanford. I’ll know how to approach completely unfamiliar situations, both academic and otherwise. I’ll know how to stick stuff in the oven without burning myself. I’ll know to keep my fingers well away from pineapples when I’m trying to slice the skin off… And if I slice the skin off my fingers instead of the pineapple, I’ll know how to deal with it.

I know a lot of people are nervous about attending training centers. I was. I guess what I’m trying to get at with this blog post is that training centers don’t just prepare you for college. They prepare you for life.