Marell’s Story

Posted by in Contributor Biographies

My name is Marell, and my home town is Charlotte, NC. I’m 22 years old, currently a junior at East Carolina University, and have been diagnosed with dyslexia. I’m majoring in English and minoring in Communications with the dream of one day becoming an accomplished novelist. I love college, and have had some amazing experiences at East Carolina. But I wasn’t always so enthusiastic when it came to academics.

In the beginning, school was very challenging. I was the slowest reader in my class and could barely spell or do math. I even had to repeat the second grade because I couldn’t handle third grade level work. It was a very dark period in my life, and I remember feeling despair and self-loathing towards my inability to learn like everyone else. Then in the year 2000, I was finally diagnosed with dyslexia. The next school year I attended The Fletcher School, which is a school for students with learning differences. Once there, school became bearable, my confidences grew, and I eventually began to thrive academically. I owe a lot to the teachers and staff of The Fletcher School for helping me unlock my true potential.

As my junior year of high school rolled around, I started thinking about college. Along with the exciting prospect of attending a university and taking the next big step in my life, there was a sense of unease. The Fletcher School was very small; I had everything I needed at my fingertips and knew all the teachers very well. My fear was that I would get lost in the shuffle of a large university. I had no way of knowing what college was like or how difficult it would be. Then I got accepted into Project STEPP at East Carolina University, a program which helps college freshman with learning differences transition into college, and my whole outlook changed.

I confidently graduated from The Fletcher School as valedictorian in the spring of 2011 and shortly after packed my bags for the pirate nation of East Carolina University. Through Project STEPP, I became aware of all the different support services East Carolina had to offer, and they helped me successfully transition into and navigate my freshman year, finishing with it a 4.0 GPA. In the spring semester of my freshman year, the head of Project STEPP, Dr. Sarah Williams, approached me with the idea of creating a student run blog to be a resource for incoming college students with LDs. After all the help people gave me in overcoming my academic challenges, I was excited to finally be able to give back. So we created this website, and I assembled a great team to help me fill it with useful material and guidelines for others to read and learn from. I also became the English tutor for Project STEPP and now help the freshman cohorts get through ECU’s required English courses.

Outside of school I try to take it easy. I love reading, and am always in the middle of a good book. Also, spending time outdoors is something I truly enjoy. I am currently in the middle of drafting my first book and love every minute I get to spend working on it. Over all my life is pretty hectic. But honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way.