My name is Meghan, I am nineteen years old, in my second year at East Carolina University, and an aspiring nursing student. I was diagnosed with dyslexia and a attention deficit disorder during my senior year of high school. I never fully understood why I still struggled with academics. To compensate for my lack of academic expertise, I focused on things that I excelled in, such as friendships, horses, cheer-leading, and clubs.
Throughout my middle and high school years it became more apparent that I was struggling as the course load intensified. I questioned why I had most difficulty grasping concepts that seemed to come so effortlessly to my peers. I would constantly ask myself, why I struggled so much more than others or why it took me three hours longer to understand concepts and finish assignments.
Being that one person out of forty students who was always lost when the teacher finished a lesson was a very familiar feeling to me. I became easily frustrated when it came to school, which led to the decline of effort I put forth. My apathy would consequently provoke my teachers to believe I was not capable of completing the work being assigned. The absence of faith in me diminished my self-esteem as a student. I started to believe what I was being told by my teachers and others around me that I wasn’t smart enough. I rarely studied for tests or completed assignments because I was convinced I couldn’t make decent grades.
Although many teachers could not see my true capabilities, there were a select few of instructors I had the privilege to come across throughout my grade school years that did. Those few saw my potential; they provided me with the patience, support, and encouragement I needed to start believing in myself. The teachers that understood my frustration taught me that my learning styles were simply unique, not any less than others. They introduced me to different ways to learn and comprehend the curriculum.
Even though, I began to see results from my efforts, it was still not enough to preform to the best of my abilities. The next level of support I needed for were accommodations. Unfortunately, I was not in high school long enough after my diagnosis for my accommodations to be granted. However, I did qualify for them once I got to college. After twelve years in school without accommodations, it seemed foreign to me. I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea someone was there to help me bubble in my answer sheets or that I received more time for exams than the other two-hundred students sitting around me. Having extended time on exams along with the option to finish exams in a low distraction environment helped me to improve my grades even more. My grades have never been so impressive, even with the college juggling act of more homework, tests, papers, and projects.
I graduated high school with a 3.3 GPA while taking an easy course load, which is nothing compared to the 3.8 GPA after the completion of my first year in college. Once I accepted that my learning styles are different from most and I may always have to work twice as hard as my classmates to achieve the same goal, I understood what it would take to be successful in school. College was my fresh start and the opportunity to prove my abilities, intelligence, and work ethic to myself and all those who witnessed my struggles along the way.