'We all need help sometimes': Student's disability no barrier from achieving goal
Not every college student knows what they want to do when they graduate, but for Gaspar D’Armata, the decision was always clear—he wanted to get a degree in communication so he could use his skills to help others.
D’Armata transferred to University of Houston-Clear Lake from San Jacinto College and will cross the stage and receive his Bachelor of Arts in Communication as part of the fall Class of 2022. “I chose to come to UHCL because I knew a lot of people who came here,” he said. “Most of my classes were able to help me in terms of accessibility for my disability.”
Born very prematurely as one of a set of twins, D’Armata suffered from lack of oxygen to his brain at birth, resulting in a mobility issue as well as other health challenges.
He did not let any of that stop him from achieving his goal.
“I am not special,” he said. “I believe in God, and discipline is the key. I am not an expert, I just never give up. I am just someone who walks by faith. I try to be better every day.”
He added that there are lots of people with disabilities of all kinds. “They might think they are the only one who’s going through it, but if you are the voice that believes in yourself, and you are ready to do the work, then you will make things happen.”
He said his career goal was to use his communication and interpersonal skills to become a recruiter for a company. “I’m social and outgoing, and when you’re a recruiter you can make connections and hep people get to their professional goal,” he said. “But my ultimate dream job is to be a motivational speaker. I would like to tell my story to impact people.”
Everyone has challenges and problems, he said. “We all need help sometimes. I would say, some scenarios are more difficult than others, but it’s your mindset and your attitude that will determine the outcome of what you’re trying to achieve.”
Without God and his family, D’Armata said he would not be the person he is. Each day, he just focuses on getting where he’s going.
“I use a walker to help me walk, but there’s nothing else wrong with me, and there’s nothing preventing me from doing what I want to do,” he explained. “I think the question is, how can we make things more accessible? There are physical challenges we can’t change, but how can we find a way to work it out? Using resources well, and knowing that everyone needs help sometimes is a way to keep from feeling sorry for yourself.”
He has worked as a student administrative assistant in the College of Human Sciences and Humanities, and did an internship with the Institute for Human and Planetary Sustainability last summer. He said now that he’s graduating, he’s been applying for jobs and waiting for his opportunity.
“It took me awhile to realize that I can’t ever do everything on my own, but I can be patient, rely on others, and learn to adapt to the situation,” he said. “It might take me longer, but I will find a way. I think we all have some difficulties in life, but in every challenge we face, there is an opportunity to learn and show how much we are capable of.”
For more information about UHCL's Communication program in the College of Human Sciences and Humanities, go online.