Today, I will introduce you to a young man named Steven Hachigian. I hope his story will give you a new perspective on cerebral palsy (CP).
I first met Steven by coincidence when my mother purchased his old adaptive bike for me to use. After that, we lost touch for a couple of years. We met again at a special needs event, and soon after, we went to a few baseball games together. Steven is really into baseball, and his love for the sport is evident when you go to a game with him.
He is a really great young man who inspires me every time I’m with him. His energy and his zest for life are infectious and touch me and my mother. I asked him to tell me about his life and about his college experience, because it is something that we both share, and I thought his perspective would be interesting. He is a brilliant young man who aspires to go into the baseball business.
Excerpts from the interview, conducted via email, follow:
RK: How old are you and what type of CP do you have? Do you have any secondary diagnosis? What university or college do you attend? What is your major? Do you have a minor?
SH: My name is Steven Hachigian and I am 20 years old. I have Spastic Triplegia CP. I do not have a secondary diagnosis. I attend Long Beach State. My major is political science. My minor is communications.
What is your dream job? What are your long-term goals? What are your short-term goals?
My dream job is to be a general manager of a baseball team. My long term goal is to be a general manager of a baseball team. My short term goals are to help my college baseball team win a national championship.
What do you find most difficult in college? How do your classmates and your professors react to having somebody in a wheelchair in their classroom? If you could change one thing about your college for people with physical disabilities, what would it be and why? What, if anything, were you nervous about when you first started college? Did you have any self-doubt and why? Looking back at your pre-college self, what is the one piece of advice you would give him?
I am surprised at how interactive the professors are. The most difficult thing about college is time management. My professors are accommodating in terms of giving me extra time on exams. My classmates have no problem with me being in a wheelchair. I would make the residence halls more physically accessible so that physically disabled students could live on campus if they wanted to. I was not nervous starting college at all. I had no self-doubt. If you believe in yourself, you can do anything. Believe in what you bring to the table. Embrace the opportunities that college gives you.
What is the biggest dream you have for yourself? What keeps you going when things get tough? What in your life experience do you think prepared you for college? Do you have a philosophy by which you live? What are the morals you live by? Do you have a favorite quote?
Know yourself, apply yourself, trust yourself. Be nice to everyone. You never know how amazing someone is until you reach out. Treat others how you want to be treated. Be authentic. The more you pour into people, the more you get out of people. Morals I live by are kindness, empathy, selflessness, integrity. The more you show the world, the more the world will show you.
I hope that this interview has given you a new perspective on CP. I believe the key point we can take away from Steven’s perspective is that we must know who we are versus what the world wants us to be. We must understand our own values and our own beliefs so that we can be productive members of society. I would like to thank Steven Hachigian for his time and effort in adding another narrative to the CP conversation.
Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disorder. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cerebral Palsy News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cerebral palsy.