JP Damante '10, overcomes obstacles as the first deaf undergraduate to receive a B.A. at USD.
After graduating from USD with a B.A. in Communication Studies, JP Damante, '10 wants to help other people overcome obstacles in life to beat their odds. As the first deaf undergraduate to receive his degree from USD, Damante learned a thing or two about beating the odds. Through a rigorous course schedule in the liberal arts, he learned how to effectively communicate his message. He hopes that one day, this message will inspire others to do the same.
Why did you choose to attend USD?
I thought it would be best and natural if I followed in my sister's footsteps. She graduated from USD in 2001.
Tell us which faculty have challenged and inspired you and how.
Some of the Theatre courses I took helped me to be more outgoing and socialize with others. My freshman year, I took Greg Ghio's Public Speaking class and it really pushed me to learn to be comfortable in front of an audience. I have to credit Dr. Williamson for challenging me, being understanding, and making me realize that I know more than I think. Communication Studies gave me the tools and knowledge on the power of effectively communicating a message.
Where is the best view on campus?
When you lay on the grass area between Serra and Aromas, the view around you is breathtaking. Also, when I walk across campus, I can't help myself but to look up at the cross on top of Maher.
"If you love something and it is really hard to get that, then you must never give up."
What are your plans for after graduation?
My plans after graduation include finding a job, and to continue moving on with my life. My family and friends want me to take a break, relax for a while, and maybe take a vacation, but I just can't stop working. I must always be moving along. I worry too much that if I stop, then I'll get far behind.
What are your long-term career plans?
My long-term career plan is to be something like a motivational speaker. I want to help people overcome the odds and be successful. I have beaten the odds a lot in my life, and even though it's not easy, it saddens me to see other people not able to beat the odds.
What advice would you give to a prospective student?
Never give up and never look back.
What is/was your favorite place to eat on campus? What do you order?
La Paloma was my favorite place to eat for lunch. I think they have the best sandwiches, because it's always fresh and tasty. It may be a long wait for your order, but it's ALWAYS worth it!
"Communication Studies gave me the tools and knowledge on the power of effectively communicating a message."
What is the most valuable advice you received during college?
One piece of advice that I received during my Sophomore year that still plays in my head was from the legendary movie star Robert Wagner. He said, "Find something you love, grab it, and hold on to it." When he told me that, we were talking about a theatre festival I was going to be an apprentice at for that summer, but I realize it's also good advice for life. If you love something and it is really hard to get that, then you must never give up. If I was given the opportunity to be a motivational speaker, I would probably use this phrase in my speeches.
What challenges did you face during your education and how did you overcome these?
The last four years were a challenge! There were a lot of times when I was on the verge of giving up, but I was always encouraged by the support of my family and the constant saying that I can do anything.
Complete the sentence "USD is..."
USD is a great place to further your education.