Got Down syndrome? Check. Got that college experience? Also check.
Our friend Troy Providenti is showing the world what’s what: no extra chromosome is keeping him from going away to college with independence and confidence.
In less than a week, Troy is heading to Syracuse University for his first college semester as a student in their InclusiveU program, which brings together students of all ages and all abilities to experience college life in a fully inclusive setting.
So will he dorm with a roommate on campus? Yes.
Will he attend traditional classes that are offered to any other Syracuse University student? Yes.
Will he attend college parties? Heck yeah!
And will he do his laundry, navigate a new campus, and join clubs? Yes, yes, and yes.
Troy will receive the support of a residential student mentor in the dorm and peer mentors in his classes to make sure he’s set and ready for each day and to help his professors choose the right workload for him. So let’s say he’s taking a class that assigns a 5 page paper, maybe he’ll create a 5-slide PowerPoint, instead. He’s going to learn in a style that honors his strengths—and we couldn’t be more excited for him!
We checked in with Troy to see how he’s feeling before heading off for his first day on campus. Here’s what he had to say:
When do you leave for college?
I leave August 24th to Syracuse.
As you get ready to go away to school, how do you feel? Are you nervous? Excited? All of the above?
I feel excited and I feel nervous. I feel excited making new friends and doing new things. I am nervous about my grades, I don’t want to get F's on my work.
Will you have a roommate and, if so, have you met him already?
I met my roommate, Vineet, on FaceTime. It went really well. He was really nice.
Is there an activity or club on campus you’re most looking forward to participating in?
I am looking forward to doing basketball club, sports club, and music club.
What are you most excited to study or learn about at school?
I really like to learn biology and ocean life. Also, cooking.
Are you looking forward to attending your first college party?
I am really looking forward to my first party because I like to party with friends.
What are your dreams or goals for your future?
My goals are in music and to record my songs. I want all of my fans to listen to my music. My next goal is to become a YouTuber. I will show everyone my songs and my drums.
What advice would you give to other young students who want to go to college some day, just like you?
My advice is to be yourself. And, also, work hard
We also checked in with Troy’s mom, Jane, and asked her how she’s feeling:
“I’m very excited, I’m very proud, as you can imagine…He really embraced this and he wants to go…I’m a mother, so I’m a little anxious, but not really because he’s just so ready. And we really prepared him. I’m going to miss him, but I think the program is fantastic and I think he knows how to advocate for himself.”
She added, “And he can’t wait to go to parties!”
We’ll catch up with Troy after his first semester so he can dish on his ocean life class and, of course, those parties!
Sending a special thank you to Gigi’s Playhouse NYC for connecting us with Troy and being wonderful partners in our work.