Growing up, Sara Hailand-Van Lieu was constantly bullied for her hearing loss. Although it has been the toughest experience she has endured, Sara said it has made her a more confident, aware, and compassionate person.
“It allowed me to come to college and be someone who actually sticks up for herself and teaches others to speak up for themselves.”
Sara has been a role model on campus as a resident assistant for the past two years, in charge of 15-20 people her junior year and 30-35 people this year.
Sara said she was able to get through her bullying experience by talking with people and leaning on them for support. Now, she wants to do that for others.
Sara studied psychology with a minor in sociology at Thomas. She volunteers to read to local elementary school children and provides transportation for a lawyer in Waterville who just had a heart attack.
Sara said everyone at Thomas really cares, and even professors whom she’s only had once will chat with her when they see her. And, the staff and faculty didn’t blink once when she needed assistance.
“Everyone was so accommodating with wearing my microphone during class,” she said. “It was kind of a natural thing as opposed to putting on a production, which is what some of my teachers in high school did.”
After graduating from Thomas, Sara will begin a graduate program at Salem State University, studying marriage and family counseling.
*This story was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2018 Thomas Magazine.