From Azerbaijan to Boulder
From Azerbaijan to Boulder, freshman Nijat Worley is a man with many challenges who also has a positive attitude.
Worley, who is double-majoring in political science and international affairs, faced many difficult challenges throughout his life.
“When I lived in Azerbaijan, I started going blind by the age of 9,” said Worley, “and I quit school by the age of 10, because there were no opportunities for blind students like me.”
The Azerbaijan government did not give Worley any special assistance. Also, the people of Azerbaijan seemed to echo the same apathy.
“I would get teased,” Worley said. “People would trip me and I could not do anything about it.”
On Nov. 30, 2000, Nijat and his aunt came to the United States to have eye surgery in Albuquerque, N.M. Despite the doctor’s best efforts, the surgeries did not go as planned. Worley also found out after his surgery he had developed glaucoma.
“I decided to remain here in the United States after my eye surgeries because the U.S. had more opportunities than in Azerbaijan,” Worley said.
He spent his first two years in the U.S. in New York City living with his aunt, attending the New York City Institute for the Blind .
“I had to catch up on everything,” said Worley. “I had to learn Braille, English and how to read and write.”
When his aunt returned to Azerbaijan in 2003, a Colorado family adopted him so he could stay in the U.S. His adopted father was also blind, and was a great role model for him. Worley graduated from Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs, where he was on the wrestling team and debate team. This year, Worley was rewarded with a full-ride scholarship to CU from the See the Future Organization.
He said he likes it here at CU.
“Over the summer, I visited the campus several times,” said Worley. “I learned all of the locations of the buildings, so I would be prepared and comfortable enough to travel independently around the campus.”
Worley said he only has one challenge with classes at CU.
“The only difficult part of class is taking direct notes from the overhead ’cause a lot of times they (the professors) do not read what is on the overhead but lecture it.”
Worley has been making friends not only across the campus but also in Baker Hall.
“There are a lot of cool kids at CU; they’re always willing to help me out if I need help.”
Recently, his dorm mates elected Worley to represent them as Baker Hall’s vice president.
“He has definitely brought good spirits to Baker Hall,” said Clark Harris, 18, a freshman history major and Baker resident. “He always has something to say and he is always friendly.”
“Nijat is one of the most impressive guys I have ever met,” added Bryant Mason ,19, a sophomore environmental studies and economics major. “He’s respected by everyone he comes in contact with.”
Worley has high hopes for his four years at CU.
“I want to do well at college, get my degrees in political science and international affairs. I want to make a lot of long term friends, so that we can be in touch and remember our college days for the rest of our lives,” Worley said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Jacob Elyachar at Jacob.Elyachar@Colorado.edu .