Every semester there’s always the uncomfortable phase where you have to tell your professor you have accommodations. You’ve been given that big manila envelope with forms that each professor has to sign. I used to hope no one would notice, but now I don’t care if anyone knows because I’m proud. I’m proud of my story.
Every scar tells a story. The science of diagnosing a broken bone is not that mysterious. A simple X-ray thrown against a lighted screen easily confirmed my 30-degree fracture, as if my misshapen wrist wasn’t evidence enough that something was clearly wrong. It was the product of a nasty bicycle accident the week of Hurricane Isabel. The treatment plan was five stainless steel screws and a metal plate. Although the experience was painful, injury did have its rewards. In elementary school, any bandaged appendage brought sympathy from your peer group. It was an instant badge of courage.
However, the scars of being diagnosed with a learning disability tell a different story. There’s no visible badge of courage. No cast your friends can sign. On the contrary, you duck and hope nobody snickers when your teacher announces it’s time for you to meet with the remedial reading assistant. But I was determined to excel for myself and to prove to others that there is no shame in having a learning disability. But something still was not right. Unlike being able to wait out the healing process of a broken bone, there is no timeframe or medical gadgetry that tells you how long you’re going to struggle with spelling, phonetics or the often dreaded math word problem. I soon learned I had dyslexia. It was this epiphany, which helped me discover there is no shame in having a learning disability, and perhaps the greatest badge of courage is earned and worn within the heart, and not on any appendage. And while every scar tells a story, it’s the journey, not the beginning or end that makes me the proudest of my story.
Throughout my schooling I have never felt more supported then I do at CNU. They have an amazing accommodation program and the professors are more than willing to help. Having their amazing support makes it that much easier to tell my story. Some of you may understand the anxiety of that manila envelope but next semester when you get one, hold it up and be proud of who you are. Whether you have accommodations or not, remember to be proud of your imperfections because that’s what makes us unique. Every scar tells a story, don’t be afraid to tell yours.