I want to share my success story, because a) I know now that I’m not the only one who has struggled, and b), I want to have it written down so I can re-tell it again someday.
In preschool, my teachers thought that I showed signs of learning disabilities. However, I went to a small private school and for some reason I was never tested. The school closed after I finished kindergarten and I went to another private school for first grade. I know that my teacher thought I was dumb; I struggled a lot in math, and she didn’t want to teach me to read. When she did, I took off and finished the year with a fourth grade reading level.
The year after that, my grandma decided to homeschool me. She had been a public school teacher for forty years and decided that if no one would help me, she would.
Except she didn’t. She labeled me “irresponsible”, “lazy”, and – my least favorite word: “careless”. She said that if I only tried harder, I wouldn’t forget my homework, lose my papers, or make bad grades. She punished me if I ever got a C or lower, and I vividly remember the single time I ever got a D.
Nevertheless, despite my “shortcomings”, I graduated at sixteen with a 4.0 GPA. I headed off to my local community college, where I spent my first semester taking two classes. I declared myself a special education major because I’ve always loved kids and have an interest in learning disabilities.
I passed the semester again with a 4.0 GPA. I decided to go full-time for the summer semester, but I failed. I chalked it up to the teacher and class material.
During this time, I decided that I wanted to switch to music therapy. My school didn’t offer that, so I applied to a prestigious music school nearby and was accepted to the university it’s affiliated with. Then I auditioned and was accepted to the music school itself. I had a year before my start date there, so I continued at my community college.
I failed, miserably. I dropped five credits during fall and didn’t even finish the spring semester. My grandma found and told me that the nine years she spent teaching me were a waste of her life.
I have known all my life that I am different, but I didn’t know how to be normal. I decided once and for all that I was going to find out if I have a learning disability or not. My new school’s counseling office offers assessment, so I took it. In October of this year, I was diagnosed with ADHD and a learning disability! FINALLY, it’s not my fault… my brain is wired differently than most’s.
So, here we are. I have accommodations and I DIDN’T FAIL ANY CLASSES, even though I’m taking 15 credits. I have earned a full ride scholarship and kept it; I’m part of the international honor society for two-year-colleges, Phi Theta Kappa; I’m part of my school’s Honors College. Due to my past troubles, I have a peer mentor who has helped my confidence a lot this semester . . . and last week, the program director asked me if I would consider being a peer mentor starting Fall 2020. I am SO excited.
Thanks to a diagnosis earlier this year, I am no longer failing college and I am not a failure.