About the Author

My name is Hannah Thompson. I recently graduated from Elmhurst College with a B.A. in Communication. You can read about my college days at Hannah's College Adventures. I am a motivational speaker encouraging people to do their impossible. I was born with Cerebral Palsy and that does not stop me from doing anything! I am changing the world one audience at a time!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Kindness is my Normal

On Sunday, I went to church. When the collection for the hurricane relief efforts began, I went to the back of the church and a greater helped me grab the dollar amount out of my wallet. This is not typical because I do not usually give at church but with the hurricanes, I felt absolutely compelled because all those who have been affected by the hurricane do not have a church to physically go to. That fact hit me like a brick.

My friends who happened to be there helped me with drinking the wine. All I need is a bendy straw and a few extra seconds. This had not ever happened but my sneaker fell off. People who were sitting nearby took care of me. I'm always grateful for my church but this is my normal. Kindness is my normal. 

On Monday morning, I woke up to the tragedies of Vegas. I will not recap, everyone knows what happened. I don't know how to respond in this blog. I don't know how to even begin expressing how awful I've felt all week. I knew it was time to write the blog and wanted to provide a respite from the news. I’m trying my best.

The most joyful event of my week was a friend’s wedding. Hannah is a sorority sister of mine and we get together once a month. She was a theater major in college and the groom plays guitar in church. The bride and groom both sang songs from musical theater productions and the groom serenaded his bride many times. It was like being in a bubble of joy and love.

I hope kindness is your normal. We can all brighten the world with kindness.

Peace and Love,
Hannah!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hello, Loyola!

Orientation was from 9:00 in the morning until 6:00 at night. The department I'm in is called the Institute of Pastoral Studies. Their orientation consisted of getting to know our advisor and the professors along with the technology as well as a tour of the campus. We sat with people who were in the same degree program. I immediately had four friends; they were feeding me during happy hour at the end of the day. Yeah. These people get me.

On the first day of class, my assistant was forty minutes late due to a train. My stress level was through the roof. I was a few minutes late but nobody seemed to care. I think when you are physically disabled and pursuing a master's degree, people know you're not joking around. It's nice to be around people who automatically assume I'm bright. Usually, it's the other way around. At Loyola, people have been wonderful about everything.

During class, we talked about how you can't practice justice without reflection. The professor's point was if all we do is create theories in the ivory tower of a world of justice, when we put it into practice, we'll fall flat. However, if all we do is practice justice, we're not stepping back and saying how can we get better? It was very interesting especially after personally being out of school for five years, to be back and for the professor to talk about that was interesting. 

I'm getting to know the campus in the physical sense. It's very accessible! I was walking around after class and I could get wherever I wanted. I applaud the University for that! 

This post is going to be short because I am exhausted from night classes and the commute. I'm a part time student so I chose two classes per semester. I will have a Masters in Social Justice in three years. For now, I'm going to bed because I have about 20 hours of homework to do. I'm glad to be busy again. 

I haven't been too busy to ignore Hurricane Harvey. It's unfathomable and devastating. Two weeks ago, we were focusing on racism and how Heather Heyer's life was taken due to ignorance and fear. Now, we are seeing solidarity because people simply want to help victims of the Hurricane. I pray that victims feel the love of the country, that they feel a sense of peace in turmoil, and that this solidarity is our anthem from now on. We are so much better than racism. 

Peace, 
Hannah! 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Soldier and Citizen

Soldier and Citizen

You are a soldier.
You face fires everyday
You face the sounds of bombs everyday
You face poor hygiene everyday
You face the boys and girls of Iraq who call you heroes
You face not seeing your family everyday
You face knowing you might have to hurt someone everyday
You face having your brother’s life on the line everyday
You face having your life on the line everyday
I am an American citizen
I am thankful for a peaceful Independence Day
I am thankful there is not a draft
I am thankful for your family’s selflessness
I am thankful for what you face everyday.
I am thankful that you are a soldier.


This is a very simple poem I wrote when I was a teenager. Let's be grateful we are Americans.

Love, 
Hannah!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Loyola, Here I Come!

I had to keep quiet during Mother's Day brunch. I really did. This was something I needed to completely decide on my own but not telling anyone felt so foreign. I could tell anyone I wanted to tomorrow but I needed to make the decision to apply to Loyola University for myself. I would meet with the enrollment advisor tomorrow.  

 I had Googled graduate school programs for communication and advocacy and found a great program in West Virginia. That was not helpful. The term "social justice" kept coming up and Loyola also kept popping up with it. I decided to click on it. Loyola's Social Justice M.A.  program seemed perfect. It was all about being an agent of change. However, I didn't want to apply without visiting the campus. 

I requested an appointment with the enrollment advisor, Kristin. I gave myself three weeks out to visit Loyola in case I decided I didn't think Loyola was for me. If anything, graduate school had been intimidating. I knew it was not a joke. If I said yes, it would be hard work. Honestly, I missed the hesitation people had when I went to college. People were scared and doubtful that I could go to college. I had a blast proving otherwise. I missed that; I realize that is probably weird to hear but I missed the sheer determination it gave me. Whenever I asked people about graduate school, it was only encouragement. Dang it! 

When I visited the campus and the enrollment advisor, everything was perfect. I was well above the GPA requirement and I didn't have to take the GRE which was a complete relief. As if that wasn't enough, the advisor, Kristin had worked at Elmhurst College. We had already crossed paths! She ended the meeting by saying, "see you in the fall!" I would apply and then see if it was indeed God's will for me. 

A huge thank you to Gina and Jessica who was my writing tutors at Elmhurst College who helped me with my essay. Five weeks later, virtual maroon and gold confetti filled my computer screen. I was a GRADUATE STUDENT at Loyola University. 

I took a day to soak in the love on Facebook and then it was up to me to get everything in motion. I applied to the Office of Disabilities. I emailed Elmhurst and asked for the documentation I gave them in 2008. Maureen Connolly had retired so without her, the process was quick and easy. The new woman who worked at the office of disabilities at Elmhurst, Corrinne, and I emailed for three days straight. In the end, we decided Loyola should have two letters that my doctors wrote and a summary of my accommodations. I submitted the documentation and after an in-person meeting, my accommodations were set. It was weird to do this without my mom because she always helps but I knew I was more than capable.

I met with my academic advisor and I can't wait for classes to start at the end of August! 

Thank you to all who helped with recommendation letters, my essay, and finally, accommodations and documentation. It was a team effort. Finally, thanks to mom who pushed me to go to graduate school for five years! 

Let's do this thing, 
 Hannah!