Ramapo Alumnus Speaks for Disability Awareness Month

The Women’s Center sponsored a keynote speaking event with Kristin Macdonald in the Student Center. Macdonald is a former Ramapo alumni and graduate. 

Kristen Macdonald was recommended by Lee Sennish, Director of the Women’s Center, because of the great work that she was involved in.

“She knew very, really great work that she’s doing and the Director, Lee Sennish, suggested her to us. We reached out, learned a little bit more about who she is and what she does and were able to connect,” Assistant Director of the Center for Students Involvement and Coordinator of the Women’s Center Office, Kat McGee said. 

Kristin Macdonald had a dream of moving to California and becoming an actress and host. Macdonald’s dream soon changed when she was diagnosed with a degenerate eye condition, Retinitis Pigmentosa, which there is not yet a cure for. From then on, Macdonald spend her time recreating herself, her life and her dreams. Today, Macdonald is a motivational speaker and radio host of a show called Second Vision, which is also the name of her dynamic system. 

“I tell you, if anyone would have ever told me that I would’ve driven out of here one day with my degree and flown back with a white cane I would’ve told them that they were insane. But that is what makes life very, very interesting,” says Macdonald. 

Macdonald’s Second Vision system is designed to help those whose first life plan failed. Second Vision is meant to help them formulate a new plan. Unfortunately, in life nothing is guaranteed. There are so many things that can occur to someone, whether it is a bad break-up, divorce, losing their job or house, etc., any of these things can throw an individual off their track to success. 

Macdonald spoke about how now is the time in people’s lives when they should take note and look at everything they have to bring to the table; our energy, people skills, networking skills, etc., because sometimes life will take turns that are unexpected and unplanned for.

“Will your dreams come true? Absolutely. But maybe not when and how you anticipated,” Macdonald said.

Second Vision helps people develop reinvention tools for times when life throws you something unexpected. These skills will help people through the heartache and turmoil they will endure when “the house of cards falls down.” This system not only focuses on having a Plan B in effect when needed, but also on upgrading one’s everyday attitude.

“I really enjoyed the event,” sophomore, Caroline May, said. “I was happy Kristin used her own story to highlight her points, but presented her program, Second Vision, in a way that anyone could relate to. I walked away feeling uplifted and hopeful with the new skills I learned from Kristin.”

Macdonald reinsured listeners that in order to help repair a situation gone wrong, one must look at it from a different perspective. It is a person’s attitude that will either make the condition better or worse. If someone wants to move towards a brighter future, they must not let the hardship keep them down. Having a negative attitude will not help anyone or anything. 

“As college students, we have a tremendous gift in the number of speakers and events we have access to,” May said. “How could anyone not take full advantage of that? With that said, I simply can’t stop encouraging people to attend events like this one. Some will change your life, and at the least, you get to meet interesting people,” she added.

Keynote speaking events such as this one always helps the student body learn from other’s own life experiences. Many students might not know how to react to a certain situation but thankfully we have events like these that help us find a better understanding on what can be done. 

“She reminded me of something I heard a while ago about people being temporarily disabled,” McGee said. “We all go through life and will have something at some point happen to us be it if you are perhaps on crutches for a little bit or maybe you lose your vision over time. I mean, things happen to us and we’re not always going to be able bodied people and she kind of reminded me of that.”

This event taught students that no matter what happens in our life, there is still enough time to pick ourselves up and start with a new beginning. It might be hard at first but with the right attitude and skill set anything can be possible. Just because Plan A failed does not mean that a person has failed. It’s important to pick up the pieces and put them back together again. Plan B might have an unexpected happy ending.