Jenkins, who was born with glaucoma that has left her without most of her sight, got Trina, her first seeing-eye dog, in July. “I’ve grown up with dogs all my life, which really helps,” she explained. “You really have to love animals and be ready to take responsibility. I suddenly felt like I was raising a toddler.”
The transition to using a dog was even more of an adjustment because Jenkins chose not to use a cane growing up, preferring to memorize her way around. “It’s a real lifestyle change,” she said.
But Jenkins isn’t asking for any medals. “Sometimes people think it’s so amazing, and I can’t quite figure out why because it’s just my way of getting around,” she said. “I always think of doing something impressive as going beyond something you have to do just to get by. For me, it’s the natural progression of how I do things and not really having any alternative.”
So far, Jenkins’ progression has been smooth. “People have been incredibly nonchalant and really wonderful about it,” she said. The College has also helped Jenkins’ adjustment to college life by working on a system that will scan books so they can be read aloud by her Microsoft Word program. In addition, the school has gotten Jenkins’ Spanish textbook brailled.
“The College has been fabulous,” Jenkins said. “I wanted to pick my school based on what I was interested in, and I was ready to cope with whatever services they were willing to offer or not offer me. When the school told me what they were going to do for me, I thought, ‘Wow, is this really going to happen?’ And it really has.”