Victoria Hauck ’26 wasn’t a typical first-year student when she arrived at the University of Lynchburg. An Access student, she is a licensed massage therapist, an artist, and legally blind.
“I’ve been like this since I was born, but it is progressive,” she said. “It plateaued in my 20s, but they suspect that it will start degrading again in my late 30s. That’s the future. I have no control over that. I’m just gonna do what I can with what I have now.”
Doing what she can includes painting, making pottery, and enrolling at Lynchburg to get her bachelor’s degree in art with an emphasis in art therapy. Ultimately, she wants to earn a graduate degree in psychology and become a therapist.
“My advice for nontraditional students who are thinking about going back to school is: Don’t worry about how long it will take to get a degree,” Hauck said. “Time will pass and you will get older no matter what, so just jump right in.
“And for my fellow disabled friends — you can take the dive, too, even if you don’t have every detail worked out. Reach out for help, ask questions of the staff — that’s what they’re here for. You deserve this as much as anybody.”
At Lynchburg, Hauck has found lots of support from staff, including those in the University’s accessibility office and library, and the Commuter Lounge has become her home base. Encouraged by a fellow artist and faculty member, she’s also displayed her watercolor paintings at Drysdale Student Center.
She said she loves Lynchburg’s “liberal arts vibe,” its many cultural events, and the fact that “the students here are pretty chill. It’s a free-thinking place.”