Living fearlessly: Miranda Oakley

This Perkins graduate plans to become a writer so she can share stories of people with disabilities

Miranda Oakley stands by a poster for the University of Rhode Island

Miranda Oakley, a student at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, wants to be "voice for people who are blind".

May 6, 2015

Is blindness one of the worst things that could ever happen to you? A recent Zogby poll suggests many Americans feel that way, but this story – and four others in the Spring 2015 issue of Perspectives magazine – shows that living with blindness is like anything else in life. It’s what you make of it.

I’m a big advocate for blind people. I am totally blind and I have been blind since birth. I have retinopathy of prematurity. I was born three and a half months too early and my retinas are detached. A lot of people aren’t aware that I can do a lot of the same things sighted people can, I just do them differently and it might take me a little longer sometimes.

I’m attending the University of Rhode Island at the Kingston campus. I’m almost finished with my English degree. I plan to be a writer when I graduate. I like fiction writing and I also like writing about my life. I’ve heard from a lot of people that when I share my story of everything I’ve been through – the good experiences, the negative experiences – it really touches people. It’s really rewarding.

Even though college is certainly not easy, it’s important for people who cannot see to go to college. Even though it can be very exhausting and challenging, you should definitely go for it. I’m all about raising the bar on blind people going to college.

The English Department is the best about making accommodations. Last semester I had a professor named Amy, and she took so much time to make me feel welcome and a part of her class. She saw my blindness as a positive opportunity. She challenged me in such a great way, in such a kind way, and was just so motivating and so encouraging.

I’d love to publish a book someday and share stories of people with disabilities. I’d like to be the voice for people who are blind, and change the perception society has about blind people. I feel that through writing, we can come forward with our experiences. I think it just starts with awareness. We’re people, too, and we have a voice that should be heard. When I get a chance to tell our story, it makes me feel like I’m doing something good for the world. 

Read more about: Alumni, Living With Blindness