As we move forward through 2021, we are kicking off a new blog series called Where are they Now?
Nikki recently joined Vista's residential transition program, Discover, about a month ago. As a student in the Discover Program, Nikki lives in our residential dormitory, located in Westbrook, CT, and engages in group and one-on-one programming to develop her independence and foster personal success. Nikki shared with us her thoughts on her time at Vista so far.
Nikki, a Vista Discover Student
What are some of the things you wanted for your life that made you want to join the Discover Program?
I knew that I wanted to learn how to live on my own and move on with my life as a more independent person. I have joined other programs before, but I wasn't getting the opportunity to engage with my local community. I want to explore the community more and do things like go to the bank or go shopping. I advocated with my family to be able to go to Vista and I am hoping to join more of its programs soon, like its arts activities. I am excited to live on my own and am looking forward to moving into the Discover transition condominiums one day and getting to take care of my own place.
What are some skills you have learned and what are you still working on?
Since I am so new, I can only explore the greater community with a staff member. Melissa, my Program Counselor, and I are working on my banking skills, so we recently started setting up an account for me at a local bank. I am looking forward to working up to being able to go into the community with other students.
I am working on managing my stress. When I feel stressed, I take a walk or watch movies, which releases a lot of anxiety. I also do a lot of yoga like I did last night before I went to bed. I am learning to use my phone and electronics less because I want to be more social and make more friends at Vista.
What are you proud of? How have you surprised yourself?
I am proud that I am not using my phone as much. I'm learning to have more self-control with it. All the staff are proud of me—they ask me every day if I want my phone and I have been saying that I don't want it. Initially, I was really homesick when I got here, but I'm not as homesick now.
What sorts of things do you do in your free time? Can you talk about your social life?
I would like to develop my friendships, so I have been spending more time with people in the dorm and less time on my electronics. I like to play board games, so I played Uno with Louisa yesterday. My roommate Elizabeth and I color a lot. I get along with Elizabeth and my suitemates, which is good. I also go for walks on the beach with staff on beautiful days, but only on the beautiful days!
Do you have any programming you really like at Vista or any Vista staff you feel a strong connection with?
I like Y Be Fit, the YMCA exercise and nutrition class, because I like exercising. I have connected with Melissa, one of the SSC [Student Support Counselor] staff. She will say hello to me and ask if I would like to join her for tasks. We chat when we go on rides together in the community and we talk with the other passengers too.
Nikki has a tradition of creating a sign for each program or school she enters. Here is her Vista sign!
What does Vista mean to you?
Vista will give me the chance to explore. I am growing my skills, but I cannot wait to be able to explore the community with the friends I make here.
Are there any fun facts about yourself that you would like to share?
I have a fraternal twin sister.
I'm a pet lover in general and my family has a rescue dog named Bella!
We hope you enjoyed learning about Nikki.
More to come!