Holycow! Mom, Dad, I did it! I'm going to college. Can you believe it? I neverthought it could happen.
Through middle school and part of high school, Istruggled to keep up. I was not a bad student, I just didn't understand what theywere teaching because I have a learning disability. I wanted to show everyone Icould graduate and go to college. I wanted to make something of myself, and proveI wasn't a failure.
When the time came to choose a college, I wasn't surewhat would be best for me. I knew I didn't want to go to a big school, so thathelped narrow my choices to a small college in a warm climate that could besensitive to my learning disability. I looked in Florida and came up with threeschools. I visited two, but they just didn't fit. Then I visited Beacon Collegein Leesburg, Florida. Beacon focuses on students who have learning disabilitiesand has small classes. It definitely appealed to me!
The day I wasaccepted to Beacon College was the happiest of my life. I received the call fromthe admissions counselor telling me I was accepted just as I was sitting down todinner. My family was so excited, and I was ready to pack that night and move toFlorida. The anticipation of going to college lasted the rest of my senior year.
The closer the time came, though, the more nervous I became about beingin a new place. Finally my parents and I packed the car and headed for Florida.After a two-day drive, we arrived.
"Welcome to Beacon College! It isso nice to see you again!" I heard over and over from the faculty andstudents, as we were introduced. It was so comforting to hear those cheerfulvoices. I knew I had found a school that was a perfect fit. I had found my homefor the next four years.
As I moved into my apartment, I was excitedto meet my roommates. What would they be like? Would we get along? Would I belonely? As my parents helped me unpack and I began to settle in, I felt a bitsad. I knew I wasn't a little girl anymore and that I wouldn't have my parentsright there when I didn't understand something. I knew they were just a phonecall away, but I would still miss them terribly.
Classes started and thepressure was on. I was anxious about what I would be learning and if I couldmanage the course load. Some students said the teachers were hard and mean, whichworried me. I realized pretty quickly that they were just teasing because I wasfresh out of high school. As time passed, I got used to the work and adapted tothe small town. I realized there wasn't much to do, which made it important tohave friends.
I whizzed through my first semester at Beacon with flyingcolors. I didn't let my learning disability hold me back, and my GPA was a 3.9.My fear of failing dissolved with the support of my fellow students andprofessors. When I visited my high school, my old teachers were so pleased tohear of my success at college; they remembered how insecure and shy I was.
I'm not as shy anymore; if I don't understand something, I'm not afraidto ask for help. The faculty at Beacon College is more than willing to help me,and I am grateful I found a college that turned out to be a perfect fit.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.