The Heart Beats On

My name is Sarah Vojnovich. I’m a college Junior at Wingate University in Wingate, North Carolina, about 35 minutes away from Charlotte. Let me give you some background about myself. I was born 23 weeks premature and was given to my parents to die right after I was born. I fought to survive, and resuscitated myself as a newborn. My life of fighting did not stop there.
I became deaf at age 2 1/2 and got hearing aids at age 3 1/2. I did not start speaking until I was five years old, and at that point, I only had a vocabulary of 200 words, far below the normal vocabulary range for average hearing children. Through reading and writing with my American Girl doll Samantha Parkington, my vocabulary skills improved, and by the time I was six years old, I could read 4th grade level chapter books and pronounce most of the names and places correctly in Samantha’s books and more.
As a third grader in elementary school, I was required to write a paper in order to prove that I had better writing and reading skills than average deaf and hard of hearing students at other schools and across the country. I wrote a three page paper on Susan B. Anthony, and how she helped to bring about women’s rights for voting and what an empowering woman she was to today’s day and age. I was highly appraised for my work, and that brought about my love of writing and my love for research.
Now, fast forward to middle school and high school. Seventh grade I had to decide what I wanted to do with my life, and my parents always thought Art was the best option for me because it was something I was good at. So we flummoxed through ideas with the possibilities of architecture, graphic design, and art history as possible careers. My art teacher in high school told me that my skills in writing and art would both benefit me together one day, since not many people have skills in both areas.
In college, I have learned that life can throw curveballs – fast, hard, and powerful curveballs. I started college at Wingate University as a graphic design major and a marketing minor. In February of my Freshman year, unfortunate news swept the art department like a snowstorm – the art major was going away at the end of the year, and I would not be able to graduate with the credits needed to be considered a full-time Wingate University student or even to get my diploma. In March of my Freshman year, I researched with my parents possible careers for the future having to deal with writing and art, as well as research and marketing, and Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations came up as a possible career choice. I originally chose Journalism and Mass Media, thinking I wanted to do Journalism, but I have found that Public Relations is the best fit for me.
No matter the curveballs life throws at you, no matter how many times you have to fight, and no matter the struggle you go through, don’t forget these words said by my father – “Believe in yourself, be smart in your decisions, and know what’s true to your heart.”

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