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More than anything, it is about becoming aware

1st Prize at the essay competition

Iulia is the First Prize winner in the essay competition organised by Sense International Romania, a competition organised based on the partnership with Babeș Bolyai University, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, Special Education Department. The contest, called ”What would a day in my life look like if I were a person with deafblindness?” took place in December 2021 - Feburary 2022.

Together with specialist books in the field of deafblindness, Iulia will benefit from the ”Vasile Adamescu” Scholarship to attend the Initiation Course in the field of Deafblindness orgniased between Febuary 28 - April 15, 2022.

Please find out below more about Iulia and read her essay.

About me

My name is Iulia Mikloș, I am 19 years old and a first-year student at the Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, specialising in Special Education, Babeș Bolyai University Cluj Napoca.

I usually use few words to describe myself. I like to say about myself that I am loving, authentic, strong and curious about things. Perfectionism has defined me ever since I was little, with some touches of stubbornness.

I wish to inspire, and everywhere I have been and I will go to always bring a smile, a good word and even an important, beneficial change.

More than anything, it is about becoming aware

What would a day in my life look like if I were a person with deafblindness? My imagination was not enough to be able to answer this question. Thus, I took the path of discovery. One Saturday morning, while at home, I took a pair of headphones that my dad was using to maw the lawn, a sleep mask from my mum’s bedside table, and I took off. I tried to fulfil the tasks of the day.

Task number one was making the morning coffee. I had in my mind a representation of what the coffee maker looks like and where is the on/off button on it. In my home, coffee has its own place, so I knew it was on the top shelf, right side, in a big jar. The hard part was to locate the milk, as it doesn’t have a special place in the fridge. Finally, after a trial-and-error type of procedure, I found the milk. Without being able to see, I found it really hard to approximate the amount in the cup, so I used a tiny cup to measure precisely and not by intuition (as I used to). While putting the milk, the coffee and the cups back to their place, I realised how important order is in the life of people with deafblindness.

The second task was cleaning my room. While arranging things on my desk, I accidentally knocked down my pens and pencils box. I hadn’t realised this until I stepped on a pencil sharpener. I did hear a short and weird noise when the box fell, but I perceived it as coming from far away, the intensity of the noise being very small. The adventure began when I started to pick up the pencils and pens. You always end up with a souvenir after an adventure. Well, mine was a nice bump on my head because, as far as I was aware, the desk should have been further away and not right above my head. When the time came to eat, I asked my mum not to tell me what was on the plate. Thus, I smelled every food and I reached the conclusion that I had no idea what peas smelled like.

I spent the rest of the day with my baby sister. I explained to er how she should talk to me so that I can understand her, I told her that sound is a vibration and if she speaks slower, I can place my hand on her chest to better perceive the sounds she made.  This experience made me think of different things. I asked myself: if I had had to go shopping, how would I have travelled to the shop? (Given the fact that the village where I live is not accessible for people with sensory impairments).

After a day like today, I would encourage everyone to try this; if not for a whole day, at least to try a seemingly common task, like brushing the teeth in the morning. More than anything, it is about becoming aware.