I want to start my story with my experiences in high school. But to truly understand why I felt the way I did, I’ll have to start with a summary.
1997 I arrived
Boom. 1997. I was born to my mom and dad. I can’t tell you much about that day, but it was obviously a party since I was there. Okay, maybe it also had something to do with it being New Year’s Eve, but really the party was for me. My sister was born in 1999. I have little to no recollection of 1999-2003, but from the pictures, it looks like I was having a blast.
I recall my experiences from Kindergarten to 8th grade to be quite average. I attended one school from 1st - 8th, had a few friends, and didn’t really do anything ‘adventurous.’ I was mostly an A student in my math, science, and social studies courses. Math and science were my jam. I loved it and it loved me. But English? Let’s just say I struggled with spelling, grammar, and vocabulary, which was basically all we learned. Don’t get me wrong, I tried and worked hard on my assignments, but there was always something that didn’t make sense. It was like adding 1 and 1 together and instead of 2 I got octopus. It was always strange because I loved to read and read often. But as soon as it came to giving someone a summary of the book I finished mere seconds ago, I’d draw a blank. And forget reading aloud. I’d trip over three-letter words. I knew I knew the words, but getting my brain to say it correctly was virtually impossible. It was clear that I was a decently smart kid, all my other grades proved it. There was always something about English class that I could never quite grasp. But I knew that just wasn’t my thing so I never worried about it.
High School Application
Towards the fall of my 8th-grade year, I began the application process to attend the local private Catholic high school. I had to complete a paper form (yes paper, it was that long ago) for the first component of my application. The next part was a placement test. I’m not sure if my passing of it was solely to determine the classes I would take or if it determined my ability to attend the school, or what. All I know is that it was a timed test (think ACT or SAT) that I had to take.
At that point in time, I was a slow test taker. Definitely ‘last person to turn in my exam’ slow and ‘I didn’t know people were still taking the test’ slow. But I knew what I was doing. If you only graded the portion of the exam that I answered, I definitely received A’s (maybe the occasional B). But if I only finished half the exam, that’s only 50%. So partially due to me not finishing exams in time for my classes and partially for the upcoming placement test, I started taking timed tests before school. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I already hated regular test days as I am more of a homework person.
Here’s the thing I was also a HUGE worrier. I cried because I misspelled a word on a Mother’s Day card. During each test, I was STRESSED. I was worried about if I was taking too long on each question. So I kept pressuring myself to go faster, which never felt fast enough. I would focus so much on going faster that I stopped reading the questions. Then I was worried that I was answering each question wrong. I was worried that I would have to take another test. I was worried that I would miss my class by taking too long. I was worried that other people would see me taking my exam. Needless to say, I was stressed.
Eventually, the test day came. I finished MOST of the questions in each section *insert stress*. And I was accepted into my high school.
To the girl who thought she never could…
Your stress in the current moment made a big difference in the future. Eventually, you’ll learn that not everyone stresses the way you do and it’s actually anxiety. Your struggles in your English classes stem from being dyslexic. Regardless, you’re doing great and I am so proud of you.
*I acknowledge that I had a lot of privileges which has definitely made my life easier.*
**I am not a medical professional. I do not recommend self-diagnosis. Seek a medical professional for all diagnoses.**