Throwback Thursday: Learning and Me

Good morning, friends! Today, I’d like to talk to you about a subject that’s always been a bumpy ride for me: Education. I’m not proud to say it, but I’m a high school drop out. I’ve always had issues with absenteeism in my life, because I get sick easily, have chronic migraines, and a number of other issues. I’m not actually intending to talk much about that, however: what I want to talk about is the fact I wasn’t always a bright student. In fact… I was pretty bad at being a student in my early years.

Throughout elementary school, I was a lot slower than my classmates, physically and mentally. I couldn’t seem to write well no matter how hard my teachers tried to, well, teach me. I was always clumsy and struggled with my physical education from regular falls and lack of muscle compared to my heavyset physique. It got to a point where it was decided I needed both physical therapy and occupational therapy while I was in school.

This was an issue that continued through part of middle school. My two therapists came to see me and would pull me out of classes to get my work with them done. While occupational therapy involved all sorts of things, including simple movements like lunges and wall facing push-ups, occupational therapy focused mostly on my reading and handwriting skill. To this day, my handwriting remains notably messy, but at least I recognize the letters now, which I struggled with in my early years.

I have a learning disability or two. I’m dyslexic with a side of dyscalcula. Words and numbers always felt they were moving around on the pages in my text books, so I always ended up making notably errors, even if it made sense if they looked at my work. I also just have a bad memory. In high school, I was given a number of tests- IQ tests, memory tests, things like that. It was noted to me afterwards that I had a low(ish) score on information retention, which honestly didn’t surprise me. I don’t know why that is, but it was already fairly obvious to me- in middle school, I had to ask my friend every hour what day of the week it was.

I have one more health issue that doubles for causing me issues in classes. I have a form of OCD mixed with ADD. For me, I’m quick to change what I’m thinking about at any given time, under one condition: there’s no spelling or grammatical errors on the papers or the blackboard I’m looking at. I had a lot of teachers who’d make mistakes, and when I caught it, I could no longer concentrate on anything- I was fixated, praying I could alter it with telekinetic powers or something. It did and still does drive me crazy! I can’t finish paperwork if I don’t edit the fields that have typos- that goes for doctor’s offices and government documents I’ve had to fill out n the past, too.

So you see, I had a lot of issues with learning. From my inability to focus after noticing and error or just not really soaking in information very quickly, school wasn’t easy for me… but I loved it. I’ve always loved learning, and I still do. I have plenty of things that set me back, but I make an effort to learn something new each day.

What was school like for you guys? Did you have issues with learning in general, or just certain subjects? What were things that helped you to learn more easily? I’d love to hear all about your experiences! Whether you’re currently in school, graduated, or dropped out like me… I want to hear your story. I’ve already shared mine- now it’s your turn!

Have a great day, guys! See you on Saturday!

Soulful Saturday: High School

Hello everyone! It’s time for some deep diving into my psyche again as we enter another Soulful Saturday. Today, I decided to talk about something that’s not so secret, but something that I can’t stop feeling bothered by: high school, and the reason I failed to finish it.

If you were here last week, you’ll know already about my history of needing psychiatric medication and a hospitalization or two. And if you were here just the other day, you’ll know I was born with a heart condition. That said, I have a slew of diagnoses besides that: everything from fibromyalgia to spine damage, from congenital anosmia to an unusual case of hyperacusia. I have chronic migraines, a hormonal cycle as kind as a nasty mother-in-law, and blood pressure the polar opposite of the high that runs in my family. Basically, my genetic pool sucks.

Here’s where that became a problem for students in the old days: in a time where it was way harder to get an education from online sources legally, I was constantly out sick from school. If I was out six or more days, the quarter of that year was a failing grade automatically- and I failed a lot because of it. It didn’t matter I always had a doctor’s note. It didn’t matter if it was five days in a row because of the flu. If I was out, I was out. And eventually, being out led me to being kicked out. But that’s not the end of this story.

They did try other things, you see. They tried tutoring at the library which actually worked, until they discovered alternative schools for kids with issues like mine. The first one they sent me to was over an hour away from where I lived- if I felt even minorly sick, I refused to go in because there was no way I’d get to my doctor at a good time. Then, they switched me to a brand new one in town. And that’s when I learned something interesting.

Many students were absent far more than me and still passed. Apparently, the rules in those schools were based on the student’s town. It didn’t matter where I went- I was still a student of Paramus High School, even if I never had to step into that building to go to my classes. And because I was a Paramus student, I was held to the same harsh reality: Health was less important, in a way, than education.

I loved school is what’s funny. I’ve always loved learning, and I had great teachers most of my life. Sure, there were some hiccups, but for the most part, I was happy with the staff. I got along with my classmates, too. But once I was nineteen almost and retaking eleventh grade, my town decided keeping me as a student was too costly. I was expelled by their order, and have since not been to school ever again.

This is stuff that happened just under a decade ago, however. It’s not like the results ruined my life. I’ve yet to get my GED due to a multitude of complications, but I managed to get a job despite it because my boss, as well as being a kind person, saw my talents in editing and writing- we met in a writing group, after all! The fact I have this job, despite being disabled and a high school drop out, is more than special to me. Just thinking about how lucky I am to have met my boss and coworkers… I feel like crying!

So, I leave this post as a testament to the fact that, while it’s important to get an education, we don’t all get lucky hands. Play the hand you’re dealt, and remember there’s going to be some silver lining in your future. If it worked for me, it’ll work for you. I’m sure of it.