The Renegade Rip

Renegade Struggles: Jesse Trevino

We all have a struggle, and every person has a different story. Each issue, The Rip will feature a student overcoming certain struggles to gain an education and better their life.

Jesse Trevino (left), a deaf student at Bakersfield College, poses for a picture with Amanda Rangel (right), a student in the ASL program.

Jesse Trevino (left), a deaf student at Bakersfield College, poses for a picture with Amanda Rangel (right), a student in the ASL program.

Sam Moreno

Sam Moreno

Jesse Trevino (left), a deaf student at Bakersfield College, poses for a picture with Amanda Rangel (right), a student in the ASL program.

Sam Moreno, Reporter

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Meet Jesse Trevino, a student at Bakersfield College for the second time; he came back to BC to earn a degree in American Sign Language, after becoming deaf seven years ago. Trevino, 46, lived a fast-paced life and worked in the pharmaceutical business and taught pharmacy tech programs.

“Life was always just busy, busy, busy,” said Trevino. Trevino has a B.S. degree and decided to come back to BC to learn ASL after his hearing went out. His hearing first started to go away slowly. “It started like when you have a cold and your ears feel full, like if I had water in my ear,” said Trevino. “By six months, one ear went out.”

Then suddenly one morning, Trevino’s life changed. “I woke up one day, and I was hearing loud banging and by the end of the day my hearing went out completely in both ears,” said Trevino. Doctors could not tell Trevino why he lost his hearing. “They [doctors] called it Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss, a long word for saying they didn’t know why I was losing my hearing. I just became deaf,” Trevino said. At first, Trevino didn’t want to learn sign language because he felt that would be accepting his Deafness.

“I was angry, I kind of struggled with learning sign language because I thought my hearing went out suddenly, so it’s going to turn back on suddenly. So I didn’t want to learn sign language because it would be like a crutch for me,” said Trevino. For the first couple years, Trevino did not accept being Deaf. Trevino finally accepted his new culture when he decided to come back to BC and learn ASL. Trevino only had to take classes in the ASL program, since he completed his general education in the past.

“If I was a new student at BC, I would be scared. I feel people get nervous to meet you when they see you signing,” Trevino said. “Hearing world and Deaf world are way different.” Before coming to BC, Trevino did not know sign language. He relied on his voice to communicate, although he could not hear or read lips.

“Now, I prefer signing; I get to choose to use my voice. To me, it’s a privilege to talk to someone,” Trevino said. His family has not yet fully learned sign language. However, people who have been in Trevino’s life for a while are easier to communicate with without the use of ASL. Trevino has had some struggles in some of his classes due to the video in class not having closed captioning, causing him and other Deaf students to not be able to participate in class activities. Trevino has also had to have an interpreter for some of his classes in order to learn the curriculum. Professors at BC have helped Trevino accept and be proud of being a part of deaf culture. Trevino said an inspiration in his life is professor Linda McLaughlin.

“Linda teaches and she is deaf. She encourages other deaf students and it’s just awesome,” Trevino said. Trevino has found a new family within the Deaf community “Deaf people can do anything but hear,” Trevino said.

Trevino’s goal is to teach ASL at the college level. Since starting at BC, Trevino said he feels like he finally belongs. “I finally found my people, I’m Deaf proud. If I had never become Deaf, I would have never met some of the amazing people in my life,” Trevino said.

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Renegade Struggles: Jesse Trevino