Belknap County, N.H.
Josh Crary doesn’t read music, but he sure can hear it, and play it—well
enough that he sometimes can learn a song in its entirety even before he
picks up his guitar. Remarkable enough, perhaps, but Crary, a junior at
UNH, also is legally blind, diagnosed at the age of 13 with a degenerative
retina disease that robbed him of his sight before he graduated from high
school. Crary emphasizes that being blind is not “the” thing that defines
him, and at UNH, the sociology major has turned his disability into a genuine
strength. A dean’s list student, he also has served as resident adviser
(RA) in Christensen Hall, one of the University’s themed dorms for first
year students. In his work there and in his major, his personal experiences
bring valuable perspective to others struggling with challenges.
Where are you from, and what do you want people to know about your hometown?
I am from Center Barnstead. It is quite a small town and does not have too much to offer commercially, but it is a beautiful area. The town population increases threefold in the summer. The people are kind and care deeply about their neighbors as well as about the issues Center Barnstead faces with management and spending.
Why did you choose UNH? How did growing up where you did influence
I primarily chose UNH because it is a large university that is far away enough from home for me to experience living on my own, but close enough that I can go home on a moment’s notice if I need to. UNH offers a tremendous amount in terms of academics and opportunities to be involved with and have new experiences. Beyond the University itself, the surrounding areas offer many choices for recreation and academic endeavors.
How are your experiences at UNH meeting your expectations?
I never knew that college would be as life changing as it has been. I attribute this change primarily to my experience as a resident advisor at Christensen Hall. I have learned not only what I am capable of, but also what I am not capable of, and when it is appropriate to call on someone for assistance. My experience as an RA has certainly changed my life in ways I did not expect, shaping my decision to pursue a career as a counselor.
Are there particular challenges you have found as a college student
who is blind? How have you handled them?
Truthfully, my college experience has been quite normal. I have faced a lot of the challenges everyone else faces, just from a different perspective. The most difficult obstacles I have faced are mostly in terms of finding the best way to learn in various situations. Acquiring my textbooks on audio CDs or converted into digital text is my greatest struggle, but one that is easily overcome as long as I plan in advance.
How do you see your time at UNH helping you in your career? What are your plans for the future?
I am currently a senior but plan to take a fifth year to finish my studies, at which point I will apply to graduate school for counseling. As an RA, I found the counseling aspect of the job to be the most enjoyable and made all of the effort more than worthwhile. In the future, I feel I will be able to give back to my community a great deal working as a counselor.