Stephanie’s Story

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My name is Stephanie. I am in my fourth year at East Carolina University, and my major is communications with a concentration in Public Relations. What I want to do when I grow up is still unknown, but I am thinking of maybe working for a sports team. I am diagnosed with a math difference and auditory processing.

I was born in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada.  When I was 3 years old we moved to Cobourg, Ontario. It was a small town right on Lake Ontario. In Canada, you complete two years of kindergarten. My first year went great, but my problems started during my second year. My teacher started to notice I wasn’t reaching the skill standers I should have been for the year. However, she didn’t take much concern because I was so young. By the time I started first grade my teacher began to have great concerns for me. She had a meeting with my parents about how I was struggling to keep up with the class and homework assignments. This is when the testing began. I was tested many times because the doctors could not pinpoint exactly what was going on. They knew it was some sort of learning difference because my I.Q tests were always in the normal rang. I saw every doctor possible from A.D.D specialist to a speech pathologist.  I was finally diagnosed with a general learning difference along with auditory processing disorder in the third grade. Elementary and middle school were a disaster for me. My parents would sit down for hours with me doing homework I did not understand how to do. I went to tutoring multiple times a week to try and keep me on track and up to the speed with the rest of the class. My parents never told me I had a learning difference. They always just told me that I was special and learned in a different way than everyone else. School was a constant struggle with teachers not knowing how to teach me and trying to learn things on my own was overwhelming. I was barely getting by. At one point in my life high school and college wasn’t even an option for me.

In 2006 my family and I moved to Charlotte, NC. We moved to the states during the summer, so my first year of school here was, eight grade. I attended a small private school called The Fletcher School. This was a school just for kids that had either A.D.D. or a documented learning difference. This was the first time I actually became aware of my, challenges, and that is why I had such a hard time learning. Being at Fletcher turned out to be the best thing for me; I was finally earning good grades, started to feel so much better about school, and gained so much confidence in handling learning difference. They taught me how to ask questions if I did not understand something, taught me how to advocate if I needed something, and, most importantly, helped spark the drive I have today. I know that I need to work twice as hard at school compared to most people but I know just as much as they do in the end.

Another thing that helped me become the person I am today, as well as, helped me get over many obstacles in my life was horseback riding. I started riding when I was 8 years old. For the first time in my life, I was actually pretty good at something. I had moments of struggle where my learning difference came out, but I was always able to overcome them. This taught me that hard work and dedication pay off.

In 2010, I was accepted into Project STEPP here at East Carolina University, and it was such a relief to my parents and me that I was going to college and would be successful. I have been on the honor roll twice since being in college and I couldn’t have done it with out STEPP.

In fall 2011, I joined the sorority Alpha Xi Delta. I rushed my sophomore year because I wanted to get my GPA up and make sure I could handle the schoolwork. With being in this sorority the last three years has helped me balance my time and school work. We do a lot of fun things in the sorority such of philanthropy events, volunteering, and also all the people you get to me being apart of Greek life. I also just started blogging for College Star.