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Women of Aux: Arianna Fournier

If you looked up the word “resilient” in the dictionary, you’d probably find a picture of Watson Hall Resident Advisor (RA) Arianna Fournier.

Arianna has a brittle bone condition known as Osteogenesis Imperfecta. She tells us this is the reason why she is “short and fragile, and in some form of wheels.”

When Arianna was looking at colleges, she imagined it like any other college experience: living on campus, meeting new people and late night study sessions in the library. But when she shared her dreams out loud, someone told her that she should look at smaller schools because it would be “easier for her.” Arianna, unphased by a challenge, didn’t want to be boxed in by one person’s perception of her abilities. A few months later, she declared a major and started her life in Statesboro.

While Arianna couldn’t be deterred from pursuing her education, college life didn’t come without its challenges. Around this time last year, Arianna broke her femur. She recalled the incident as having been scary and hard, but from there she had some really positive changes happen.

“I can 100 percent  say I wouldn’t have been able bounce back it without my friends– everything from getting someone to pick me up off the sidewalk to helping me get to class while I waited for my scooter to come in,” said Arianna. “Without them, I don’t know if I would be where I am, having the impact that I do.”

Not only have Arianna’s friends been an important piece of helping Arianna transition into college life, but Stella Young, a comedian and disability advocate, has also been an inspiration. Arianna appreciates Young’s approach to discussing disabilities because it lightens the mood and releases tension surrounding a typically tense subject. Arianna channels that comedy into sharing her own story.

“She talks about how we often look at those with disabilities doing normal, daily activities as inspirational,” said Arianna. “I promise I don’t want to get out of bed as much as every other college student.”

For Arianna, being an RA gives her the opportunity to guide and encourage freshmen during their first year of college because she’s been there before. She knows what that’s like.

“I absolutely love getting to have a part in helping my residents fulfill all of their potential,” said Arianna. “Working with first-year students, I’m surrounded by the nervous energy and the wide eyes, and it reminds me of how wonderful and scary college is.”

Taking a leap of faith and going against the advice of attending a smaller school, becoming an RA, advocating for those with disabilities and making lifelong friends are gifts she didn’t think she would receive during her time at Georgia Southern.

When she reflects on the last three years Arianna, “doesn’t know if ‘little’ me would believe it.”

Click here to read the full story of Women of Aux in the Aux Now Magazine.

-Emily McLeod

Posted in Staff Recognition