Skip to main content

Roop Gill

SFU Student Undergraduate
Arts + Social Sciences › Psychology | Environment › Sustainable Development

A young man sitting on a park bench, listening to music with his seeing cane resting beside him
Mart Production On Pexels
I guess the biggest question on my mind is, “What impact should I have on the world?”

Holding his white cane, he strutted his way through the aisle of the bus. With his careful disposition, he successfully manages to find a spot. Fellow commuters, including myself, immediately started to pay attention to the new passenger and his disability. I chalked our quick response up to ‘natural human tendency’, as it’s often referred to as.

While looking at the new passenger from head to toe, I could imagine the onlookers starting to guess and assume what his daily life was like. His backpack provided a hint that he might be a varsity student of some kind. Further, since I had been recently reading a book on racial discrimination and its sustained presence in today’s world, I thought about whether being ethnically profiled was a challenge he faced lately.

But now, I must switch perspectives. Placing myself in his shoes, I wondered if I could have successfully landed a spot in the bus. A spot that empowers me to travel as someone who is sighted. Moving on, I think I would strive to hold on to my cane as hard as possible. The cane stands as my constant companion, while being aware that all eyes stare at me because of this mobility tool. In other words, I think I would consider my cane as my friend. Yes, a friend, who has been my source of identity in this misidentified world.

A few minutes into the ride, I return to my perspective and ask myself, “Should I, as my fellow travellers, keep assuming on the daily affairs of others through my privileged sense of hearing, touch, and smell?” Should I wonder whom the person sitting on my left is texting (maybe it's their parents, partner, or colleague)? Should I wonder what grocery items might be in the bag of the person sitting on my right?

I ponder on these questions for a few seconds but then decide to switch attention to my own daily life and my purpose. For instance, “What should I eat for dinner? What should I read and revise before bed? What time should I call my family?”. I guess the biggest question on my mind is, “What impact should I have on the world?”

As I fathom my conscience, the automated announcer says, “Scott Road at 92 Avenue”. I carefully step out, while thanking and wishing the driver a goodnight, and embark on my solitary journey.


Roop Gill

SFU Student Undergraduate
Arts + Social Sciences › Psychology | Environment › Sustainable Development

Posts by Author

Four people sit around a table in business casual wear.
Value People as Much as You Value Your Work!

When a company invests in its people, the work experience can go from good to great. Roop Gill’s anecdotal piece on how she prospered in her co-op despite massive setbacks proves that there is nothing more valuable than workplace connection.

Illustration of 6 people talking in different languages
When English Isn’t Your First Language

“Gosh Roop! Are you really an international student? But you do not speak with an accent. Wow, I would have never guessed that.” Through anecdotes and introspection, Roop shares a compelling narrative of the struggles of why International students face challenges due to language barriers and biases.

You Might Like These... Accessibility, Life Experience, Professional Development, Workplace Success, Public Speaking

Glenda during her lecture
From Speech Impairment To Motivational Speaker

While sitting at the airport gate last July, waiting to board the plane to Portland and then onto San Jose where I was scheduled to deliver two presentations on web accessibility, I wondered, "How did I, an individual with a significant speech impairment and a physical disability, get here?"

Triumph person cheering
The Payoff of Perseverance

Raymon Gulati faced his fears by interviewing with BlackBerry, landing a fantastic job, and learning that his talent & skills could successfully overcome what seemed to be his biggest obstacle.

Combination of thank you messages
How Seeing Less Helped Me See More

Finding out about an incurable genetic disease is definitely a game changer. With the right attitude it can be change in the right direction as I was able to get involved with CNIB (Canadian National Institute For The Blind) and support a new community of inspiring individuals.

You Might Like These... Accessibility

'Til We Meet Again

Recently graduated, Jien Hilario reflects back on university, career choices, convocation and her blog series I Am Able. 

We Can Do It!
How to Satisfy Your Inner Activist

When people think about social justice, they think of things like protests or hunger strikes, but the options don’t end there. These volunteer organizations can help you satisfy your inner activist.

A computer with a braille keyboard
The Invisible Hand: In Regards to Helping a Disabled Person

Even the most well-meaning actions can have unintended consequences. Read SFU student Jillian's piece on what some of the dos and don'ts are for providing help to a blind person are.