Skip to main content

Living Books

Living Books Updated Fall 2019

If You Could See Me Now by Joya Eirew

I am a Community College Success Story. I began my higher education in 1969 at LA City College because my friends were going there.  In 1973 I attended LA Trade Technical College and then got married and moved to San Bernardino Valley College where I earned my Library Technology AA.  From there I earned a BA degree in Human Services at CSUSB.  I’ve been married for 41 ½ years and I have continued learning and improving my piano skills for 58 years.  At MSJC I’m pursuing a certificate in child development to help me continue teaching music to children. I’ve been told that my disabilities will make it hard for me to work with small children, but attending college helps me to not sit at home focusing on my disabilities and staring at the 4 walls and my 4 cats.   

Sometimes Technology Sucks by Cameron Douglas

When I was 1 ½ I was diagnosed with cancer of the retina, and they took my eye.  Then 6 months later they took the other eye because it had spread.  Growing up, my twin brother and I were the youngest of 7 boys and my brothers didn’t treat me any different. They protected me, but there were always a lot of pranks.  We used to jump off the balcony into the pool – my mom would hate that.  I had my own skateboard, bike and paintball gun. We grew up on almost an acre and we would ride down the 275 feet from the street to the grass. I fell a lot when I was learning but echo-location helps a lot and I learned to stay up.  I haven’t broken bones but I’ve got plenty of scars.   I started learning Braille at age 3 and I went to regular school because my parents didn’t want me to go to a vision impaired school.  The hardest part of going to school blind was the using Braille in the classroom.  When Assistive technology came along around high school, it got better but it has trouble translating certain text or the printer doesn’t work – sometimes technology sucks. 

Leading the Way with Gratitude by Bashir Farooqi

My parents, who came from Afghanistan, were both hardworking parents.  I am blessed and thankful to have them, so for me being the oldest in the family and going to college as the first generation, I would like show my siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and the rest of my ancestors, how hard I’ve worked to earn an associate’s degree in Physical Education.   First time when I first came to MSJC I was placed in Math 50 and English 61.  3 years later, in Fall 2016, I made it on the honor roll because my GPA was 3.667. Even though I have a learning disability, I can go out there without giving up and getting my college degrees. Throughout my whole like I told myself three words, Have Faith, Believe, and Confidence, and it finally came true.  I would like to thank the MSJC Staff, for example DSPS, EOPS, Financial Aid, Counseling, and the LRC for helping me out and getting me this far I couldn’t have done it without their help.

Try Until You Get it Right, by Angela Findlay

My name is Angela (Angie) and I have been attending MSJC on/off since 2011. 

So many times I have wanted to give up on my dream of becoming a NURSE, especially after attempting the same class two or three times. It was not until my third semester at MSJC that I found out about the specific learning inequality that I have. How to overcome my challenges came later.  I wish I could say it's been an easy road because it has not been that way for me EVER! In fact I feel like giving up all of the time. Something always leads me right back to replanting myself in school. I suppose it has been the thought in the back of my mind that everyone has a dream but not everyone has the drive to succeed. I keep telling myself one more try...try again always! Try until you get it right. I want to wake up one day and say, wow I did it! I have BIG audacious goals and look forward to my future!

No Harm Done by Devaun Hebert

Truthfully, I never really thought I was disabled early on in my life, physically or mentally. I thought I was like everybody else. However, I slowly started to realize what made me sort of stand out among others, or should I say fall behind them. I thought it had something to do with me being an introvert, but maybe I was simply finding an excuse to justify this Autism diagnosis. It’s supposed to have something to do with taking longer amounts of time to process certain information.  Sometimes it can even be challenging to have a conversation with a person by simply trying to figure out what to say and how to say it. On the other hand, I never really considered myself as having a disability. It may be a little challenging, but in the long run, I’ve been learning to overcome it by building up confidence, working hard, using the resources that are available, and most importantly, taking initiative.

Still Recovering by Joseph Page

This was my student ID when I first became an MSJC student. 


I don’t know what normal is but this was my life. I inherited my spinal disability from my grandfather, but I was never taken to the hospital regarding it until it was too late. Growing up in the Page household took a toll on all of us. Drinking took the emotional and even the physical pain away. Alcohol and drugs became a worse handicap than my actual ailments. Later on I crushed two discs in my lower back after attaining my certification as a Landscape Artist so I couldn’t keep a job.  I became a blackout alcoholic and me and alcohol destroyed my life once again. In 2013 I enrolled in my first drug and alcohol rehab program. I graduated the program and my counselor asked me the question “What do you want to do? What is your goal after you leave here?” I told her I would like to go back to school. She directed me to MSJC.  I could accomplish many things that I never thought possible for someone like me.

Beauty in Every Struggle by Amanda Tuyu

My family never spoke of college or studies or career plans.  My parents only managed to complete high school and that is where the bar was set.  With no knowledge of my possibilities in the future, it became even more discouraging to continue learning after I was tested and diagnosed with a learning disability. It seemed like I was surrounded by disappointment and nobody supported my learning.  Despite all the negative setbacks, it all just did not sit well with me; maybe it was pride or the excitement of a challenge, I just wanted to prove everyone wrong.  The greatest tool was my perspective.  The way I viewed school became different from the average student. With the assistance from my special educator gave me to connect with Disabled Students Programs and Services office of Mt. San Jacinto College,  I enrolled myself into college without the support from family. It was really intimidating for me to get there, but I will not let myself fall into being labeled as being another statistic.  

Rolling Forward Toward My Dreams by Sunday Vides

My name is Sunday Vides and I have 7 siblings.  My mom is my support in everything, I have a 3 year old baby sister that has Down Syndrome--she’s a happy trouble maker.  The picture is from my high school prom.  I had fun with my friends that night.  Sometimes in life you got to crawl or roll to be able to make it where you want to be. No matter what obstacles you face in life, you have to keep moving forward with your dreams, that’s what I’m doing.  I’m in my second semester at MSJC. My major is microbiology because I plan to be a doctor.   

The Power to Keep On Going by Maria Villegas

I am a first generation college student. I been diagnosed with Learning Disabilities since I was in the 1st grade when my teacher noticed that I wasn’t learning in the same pace as the rest of the class. Society likes to put people with disabilities into categories because we are different, but I’m smart and I don’t think I should be put into a category. I am the youngest of four, and none of my siblings have attended a four year college. I will be the first to get a degree, in which I will be earning 3 AA degrees this Spring of 2017, and I’ve been accepted to attended Cal Poly Pomona. In my whole college career this far I learned more at MSJC with the help of DSPS accommodations, than I did in K-12. The testing accommodation and note taker really helped because of my learning disabilities. I wish some teachers would understand the struggle we face when competing in a class with “regular students” but that pressure definitely helped me grow. The support I got from DSPS and the Department of Rehabilitation gave me confidence, reassurance, and the power to keep on going.

See the Me Beyond CP, by Joshua Williams

I was born in NJ, moved to California in 2011 to help my sister raise her infant son while her husband was deployed in Iraq, then I loved California so much I got involved in my church, then became a leader in church and now I’m an ordained elder.  I have Cerebral Palsy that affects my lower extremity.  I was diagnosed at
2 years old and it causes muscle stiffness and weakness.  It never affected my learning ability, but it caused the teachers to treat me more cautiously than other students because all they saw was the physical. The hardest thing about having this is just people making assumptions about me.  It’s easy to look at me and see what I can’t do but it takes a special person to look past that. People discount people like me, but we don’t have an option in this.  We didn’t choose this, but I think that I was given this because it forces people, as well as us, to think outside the box, like, because of it, we have to rely on other senses and they get stronger.