My Mom thought the school was trying to crush my soul.

“I used to cry because it took me too long to do the stuff other people could do quickly and easily. I was scared when the Reading Specialist would take me out of class. I hated people asking, ‘Why are you getting taken out of class?’ I never wanted anyone to know why. My Mom thought the school was trying to crush my soul.

Then in 9th grade English class, we had to say something interesting about ourselves. One boy said he was dyslexic. I didn’t understand why he would reveal such private information. We became friends. His openness about his dyslexia made it normal. I began asking for help.

In college, test anxiety is my biggest issue. I’m comfortable presenting in front of 150 people. No problem. But with a test, I’m thinking if I don’t do well, I’m going to fail everything. I always answer the essay questions first to jot down everything that’s overflowing in my head. With multiple choice questions, I play the ‘what-if’ game and second guess myself. It’s an internal debate for EVERY SINGLE QUESTION. By the end, I’m exhausted.

My Dad says, ‘What happens if you fail this test? They aren’t going to take anything away from you.’ But I usually fail the first test I take with a professor who is new to me. After failing a Biology test, I told my Professor, ‘I know the material but I just can’t put it down on paper.’ So he read me each question. I told him everything I knew. He realized I knew the right answers. Recently, my college counselor said it’s unrealistic to know every answer so I shouldn’t aim for 100%. So far, it’s working!

I’m pursuing a master’s degree in education. My entire life, people have tried to help me by following steps. They say, ‘There you go. This is supposed to work.’ When it doesn’t, they don’t know how to help me. That makes me feel like I must be stupid. I know they are frustrated with me for that 50 minute class, but this is my 24 hours a day and I’m 10 times more frustrated than they are.

I want to change a kid’s life when an approach isn’t working for them. People learn differently. Everyone can do it. They just need people to help them be able to do it.”