Saint of SF | Eli Nissley

Saint of SF | Eli Nissley

“Providing quality entertainment is very fulfilling, there is nothing better than seeing an audience enjoying and reacting to what you have presented.  

I chose an Associate of Science degree in Theatre and Entertainment Technology because I had some experience with setting up audio equipment with my dad. Growing up, I went with him to many of the gigs he ran audio for and he would spend time teaching me as well as allowing me to assist him with the setup of the system. As I got older, I decided I wanted to make a career out of it.  

I have two disabilities that I have had to overcome, one is that I am hearing impaired, and the other is my narcolepsy. Overcoming hearing impairment is the easiest to “normalize” by far. I obtained hearing aids and learned basic lip reading. My hearing aids allow me to follow along with conversations easier and lip reading provides clarity to what I am hearing.  

The more difficult obstacle is my narcolepsy. My middle school years were riddled with absences due to being simply too tired to function or stay awake. Often when I made it to school, I would do what my parents and I call sleep functioning; This is where I would look awake, but my brain would be asleep. In a sense, I was a highly functional sleepwalker. Without medication, I will sleep about 14 hours overnight, wake up for about an hour, take a three-hour nap, wake up for about two hours, take another three-hour nap, wake up for about an hour, and then sleep all night long.  

Starting in ninth grade, I began my medication; it took two years to get to the correct dosage, and all the while, my mom would wake up at about 5:30 to give me my meds so I could be awake and out of bed by 6:30. One of the sleep specialists I saw suggested that I should start learning to take my medicine on my own. Her reasoning is that since I was already highly functional asleep, I should be able to learn how to take my meds in my sleep every morning on my own. To assist with this, I have a very bright light timer as well as a very loud alarm which I need to get out of bed to turn it off, I cannot just hit it while still lying down. I must ensure everything important I can get done within a 12-hour window and schedule my days accordingly. 

My mom and dad are a big reason I am here and capable of continuing my education. Due to my 12 hr time limit, it is difficult to obtain and hold a job at the same time as going to college. My mom also did a lot to help prepare me to live on my own. 

Despite these obstacles, with support from others, I’ve found success in pursuing a degree that will lead to a career in a subject I want to learn more about. I hope to use the technical knowledge I learn at Santa Fe College as a tool to convey messages to society and provide quality entertainment. Throughout history, the theatre has been a place of discourse, which forces society to look at itself in the mirror, allowing the opportunity for reflection and change. “ 

Eli Nissley, SF student A.S. in Theatre and Entertainment Technology 

Hometown: Live Oak, Florida