By Yuka Hayashi (Boston College) / Special To The Japan News The chilly breeze plays with my hair as I trek from the far end of the Chestnut Hill Campus to the parish office situated near the Boston College T Station. As soon as I enter this brick office, with its distinct shade of merlot and rows of white-rimmed windows, I head toward the fourth-grade classroom and greet my little buddy Daniel.
Seeing me, Daniel’s eyes thin into a soft arch, and his two big front teeth show as his lips curve up. His pretty smile ceaselessly reminds me of the reason I chose to attend Boston College.
It all began six years ago when I served at an acquaintance’s pediatric clinic: I vividly recall observing the doctor provide diverse advice to the family of a boy with cerebral palsy. At that moment, I became eager to learn more about how biomedical, environmental and social factors influence children’s development.
Hence, when I received an acceptance letter from Boston College — a Jesuit school committed to nurturing “men and women for others” — as an Applied Psychology & Human Development major at the Lynch School of Education, my mind was made up. I believed that the experiences here would allow me to take my first steps toward positively impacting the development of children through interdisciplinary means.
And … I was right. Despite being an inexperienced freshman, the Faith Formation Program welcomed me as an assistant for Daniel, a boy with autism spectrum disorder.
The weekly interactions with Daniel and the discussions I have in my classes, such as Child Growth and Development and Working with Special Needs Students, reinforced my belief that Daniel’s condition is not a deficit, but a difference. In order to fight against pervasive and belittling misbeliefs, I am determined to continue to empathize, learn and advocate so that I can help create an inclusive environment suited to every child’s development.
Boston College has not only provided me with the opportunity to apply my academic passion to service, but has also and continues to challenge me to explore the ways in which I can truly be a “woman for others.”