Growing up with an NVLD in a rural town brought a mixture of positives and negatives. On the positive side, I could really go after my dreams. On the negative side, I was alone as the harder path wasn’t that encouraged. However, now in adulthood I certainly understand how helpful this was.
One thing I benefited from was being able to take a full college prep schedule. Since this wasn’t the norm for students like me, I was blessed to receive remarkable support as most of my resource room classmates didn’t need as much assistance. This was especially helpful during my junior and senior years as many chose the vocational route so their workload was less. So much of my resource room teachers attention could be focused on me and my coursework. As a result of this, I was able to reach my full potential and this allowed me to attend my first choice of college. It also showed that I knew how to overcome my challenges and that I wanted to succeed.
Another positive was being able to be a three season varsity athlete especially in cross-country as the team was fairly small so my coaches could give me a lot of extra support. Although, it was hard being the only athlete with gross motor deficits and having a seizure disorder. For example, putting on my running bid required assistance and had there been a few more like me, it could have led to more headaches. Through this experience I was respected like a top athlete as I was considered unique and years later I still value my coaches and am especially close to my cross-country coach.
One last positive thing I realized was being able to apply to colleges near a city with great support systems which I ended benefitting from a great deal. The negative was our district ran workshops for only career programs and local SUNYs which I never attended. As a result of these higher aspirations, some judged me as they couldn’t see it was a family goal. However, being a disabled student with big aspirations made me unique and allowed me to write a great college essay and recommendations. This wouldn’t have happened in a suburban setting. Since others like me would have also wanted my path and my profile would have been too similar.
Overall, while I love living in Greenwich, CT outside of NYC and going to college outside of Boston, rural upstate was the right place for my upbringing. It allowed me to have a great story which gave me more opportunities for college. While It certainly wasn’t easy, the hardships were so worth it. I just hope more will choose the path I chose knowing that with hard work and dedication your biggest aspirations can come true.
I will always think the world of my college friends and think the world of the people that made a difference in my life like the Adams, my counselor, and teachers!Share your own story