My name is Becca, and I am from Clayton, Delaware. I’m 19 years old and currently in my sophomore year of college at East Carolina University. I was diagnosed in the fifth grade with dyslexia after much confusion and many tests. My major is psychology with a minor in sociology. Right now I’m not sure what exactly I want to do after college. If possible, I would love to work with students who have learning differences in some way. Majoring in psychology seemed like a good choice for getting me closer to that goal.
The first time I realized I was different from the other kids in my class was in kindergarten when we had to do an alphabet letter worksheet. All the other students in my class finished the worksheet very quickly, while I sat at my table trying to make sense of what was in front of me. I was the last one left and still did not have a single thing written down on my paper. From that point on, that kind of situation became a recurring event in my life. All through elementary school, I was the last one to finish my work, or not even get to finish it because I wasn’t able to understand the assignment. I was left out of fun activities and social interaction because I was put into an extra reading class that made me miss the first part of recess and the last part of our special class gym, art, and music. I was always so embarrassed to be pulled out of class to go to the reading class.
It became apparent to my parents in the fifth grade that there may be a more serious problem when I bombed the test to get out of the special reading class, even after showing improvement. Something wasn’t matching up when it came to my grades and my intelligence. So my parents started taking me to a variety of doctors. They ranged from eye doctors to psychologists two states away from home, each time with a different test. Then one test finally gave my parents and me an answer to our many questions. I have dyslexia.
I was not sure what to do with the information for a while. Dyslexia was a new vocabulary word for me and my parents, and I had little understanding of what it meant. I was confused to whether this was a good or bad thing. In fear of people thinking that dyslexia was just another way to say stupid or dumb, I hid it from my classmates for years. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school when I was able to tell my friends about my learning difference. Then once I saw how supportive and understanding they were, I started becoming more comfortable with having dyslexia.
I didn’t have many accommodations or support from 5th to 12th grade. It wasn’t until I was accepted into a program at East Carolina University called Project STEPP, a program that assists students with learning differences through their college career, that I realized my true potential a student if I just use the right tools and have the right support. Project STEPP also gave me a group of friends who also had learning difference and understood what I went through as a student. Project STEPP helped me create a new perspective on learning differences, and now I am so comfortable with my dyslexia that I can tell complete strangers about it and even give presentations.
When I’m not in school, I make it a point to relax and try to get my mind off of academics. Some of the activities I include would be playing intramural volleyball, reading, and having movie nights with my friends. In all honestly, my school week is so busy with homework and working at my job, that any relaxing time I get over the weekend I try to take advantage of. I think is important to maintain some sanity in college. During breaks and over the summer, I always try to go to the beach since I live so close to it. Being well-balanced with my time is always a priority of mine, so I try to have a least one or two activities not including school work to look forward too.