I went blind but that didn’t stop me from starting a maths degree
And you thought calculus was hard
Jack Garner is an ordinary student.
He’s from Scunthorpe, plays sport, and has just started a Maths degree.
But there’s one difference – in 2007, he was diagnosed with a genetic condition that caused his eyesight to deteriorate until he became blind.
In the face of huge difficulties, Jack aced his A Levels and landed a place at Birmingham.
For many students, starting uni is a massive stepping-stone that comes with learning how to look after yourself.
Jack had the added challenge of adapting to a completely new style of working.
He said: “For my A levels my teachers at college were able to read braille, so I was able to get things done reasonably easily.
“It was a straightforward case of handing in sheets of braille from an old fashioned Braille typewriter.
“But now all thats changed. I now have to hand in a sheet of print, which means getting used to a completely different set of equipment and computer software to convert Braille to print.”
Explaining how his machine worked, Jack said: “What’s on the screen will be shown up on the Braille tray (pictured above).
“Then I type it out in something similar to HTML publishing language and then it will all come out in print form.
He added: “The University has been great.
“They’ve been extremely flexible and accommodating, and I’ve even got the option of having someone in lectures to take notes if I need it.”
Jack’s not just a mathematician, he’s also a very talented athlete.
In 2011 he competed for England at triathlon in Hyde Park during the run up to the Paralympic Games.
Alongside his studies, Jack is looking forward to getting involved with the triathlon club here at Birmingham.
He said: “I’ve been going to the taster sessions for the last week and I’m looking to get my full membership.
“It seems like a great set up, and I really can’t wait to get started.”
Due to the rules regarding visually impaired triathlon, Jack needs to ride and run assisted, and plans have been put in place to ensure that he can compete for the club.
Jack added: “The club’s helped me organise a guide for competition, and I’ve brought my own tandem to ensure I can compete for the uni.”
Jack is currently living on the Vale and having a blast, with Birmingham exceeding his expectations.
He said: “It’s going better than I thought. I’m in a flat with five other lads and they’re a great laugh.
“I’ve had an amazing time so far, and I’m just enjoying making new friends and the great benefits that come with being at university.”