Personal Story

Feature Issue on Inclusive Higher Education for People with Intellectual, Developmental, and Other Disabilities

College Life


Garrett Shows is a UNH-4U student studying physical education.

A male college student reaches up to touch a statue of the University of New Hampshire mascot, a wildcat. He’s wearing a baseball cap backwards, pink oxford shirt, blue shorts, and sandals.

Garrett Shows reaches for an independent future.

The program that I am in is about experiencing inclusive higher education and most importantly, bridging the gap among inclusive students, improving your resume, learning to live independently, and gaining job skills for future careers.

There are many reasons why I wanted to come to UNH. The main reason is to maximize my potential and, most importantly, gain job skills so that I can get a better job as a physical education assistant. I also wanted to gain independence by living in the dorm. UNH-4U is preparing me to live on my own. I have support from mentors to help me with things like going to the grocery store, working out, and proofreading my classwork. My peer mentors also introduce me to their friends, who are becoming friends of my own.

One of the reasons I wanted to live in the dorm is to expand my social circle and also to figure out how to make new friends and develop common interests with people. A typical day of living in the dorm is working out, going to class, and developing positive relationships.

I've taken a couple of classes that have taught me how to be a better physical educator, such as how to teach fitness drills, how to teach sports, and how to work with students with different backgrounds (including people who use adaptive equipment). I have worked closely with my professors who are helping me get where I am today.

A typical day for me at the UNH campus is working out, going to classes, working with my academic coaches, hanging with friends, doing meditation and yoga, and going on a walk in College Woods. I also participate in student clubs. I’ve recently found a community within the Christ Club that is welcoming and accepting through our similar religious beliefs. Furthermore, with Sport Career Club, I love meeting new people who share the same love of sports as me. We typically talk about what it means to be a broadcaster and different positions that perform the same tasks.

I feel like this experience is going to lead me to better employment down the road, hopefully in physical education and help me achieve my long-term goals of being independent.