For most of my life, being alone was something that was normal to me. My mom barely had time for me, and my dad was always here and there.
My mom was always busy taking care of my brother and sister because of medical issues they had. My dad was a complete stranger to me. I felt nonexistent to my family. When I wanted someone to talk to, I had nobody. I felt more at home at school. At least there were people I could reach out to.
During my previous school years, I have never been a Straight "A" student. My worse fear was not living up to what everyone expected me to become: bright and intelligent. When I would try, I felt like it wasn't good enough.
I was always ready to learn at school, but when things got challenging I couldn't learn at the same pace as other students. My mind and the way I learned, was as slow as a snail. Some of my teachers had some concerns about me. In 2006, I was diagnosed by the school phychiatrist with a learning disability.
I got placed in Special Ed classes in fourth grade through middle school. During class, I would always sit in the back row. Unmotivated to understand what the teacher was talking about. One day I was so lost and frustrated that I started breaking down into tears.
As days went by, I started to cope and get use to being in Special Ed. I progressed more and stayed focus by moving to the front row. When it came closer to the end of middle school, with impressive grades, I was given the option of taking Special Ed in high school or being in regular classes again. I decided to go mainstream because I wanted to be around more students.
During freshman year, I wanted to have some involvement somewhere. I was on the path of finding myself. I wanted to explore different fields such as Music, Drama and Art. As the year went by, my grades were good enough to make it to the tenth grade. However, frustration took over my sophmore year. Learning new malterial everyday and staying focused, were two main issues I had. It was getting alot harder for me to recieve, process and store information. It was like my mind was blurred. I felt like I wasn't cut out for high school. I started struggling with classes such as Civics and Algerbra 1.
My toughtest year of all, was junior year. Things got even more challenging. I had difficulties studying for all of my tests. I tried reading and re-reading the same malterial over and over again but, no matter how hard I studied, I still had problems remembering things. I got frustrated again so, I decided to change my classes and go back into Special Ed. But, when I needed my guidance counselor, he wasn't around. Spending class periods everyday waiting for him near his office wasn't worth my time anymore.
From that point on, I started to give up on life and myself. Still, not getting the love or support from my mom made me feel weak as a person. I didn't care about anything in the world anymore. I started isolating myself from everybody.
Entering my seinor year, I started hearing other students in my class talking about college. It made me wonder: new people, new life, new atomosphere. It was exactly what I wanted. I panicked though. Would my rough junior year affect my chances of getting in college? I knew I had to work even harder to prove myself and giving up was not an option. I decided to make a change.
While in classes, I raised my hand and asked alot of questions. I even sat in the front row. My teachers would work with me after school and help me learn new note-taking strategies and studying skills. I also got tutored for math at my after school program called "Future 5." With the support I started to have I felt encouraged saying, "You can do it Shirley!" From there on, I was more focused and motivated than I ever was in my entire life.
Other than being in school, I stayed positive and did things that I enjoyed, like skateboarding, songwriting and community service.
Through my struggle, I've learned it's okay to be different. After all, there are famous people like Walt Disney, Whoopi Goldberg and Tommy Hilfiger that had learning disabilities. Reguardless, they still turned out to be very sucessful in life. As I look back I've notice how much I've changed now, then before. I realized that the people who started caring about me, helped me to love myself.