One day I will be the face and leader of a major corporation. Some may doubt the validity of that statement, but I can assure you that I do not.
In kindergarten, I was classified as having a learning disability. My parents said I was a verbal genius trying to force a round peg into the proverbial square hole. As a result, I struggled to learn to read until second grade, I needed Velcro shoes until I was eight, and I still haven’t mastered the art of bike riding.
In fourth grade my family moved to New City, where I didn’t have any more success. I was the chubby kid everyone made fun of. I attended speech and occupational therapy. I got a D in math.
Then one day something just clicked. I lay on my bed while my father’s anger over my D echoed from downstairs and it occurred to me: I didn’t like this. I didn’t want to make my parents yell anymore, I didn’t want to be the fat, stupid kid anymore, and I was tired of going to those tiny rooms for speech and occupational therapy. I decided to change it all, and I did.
Fifth grade was when everything started to come together. I learned to put effort into my work and to make light of my disabilities instead of to dwell on them. I finally made friends, earned straight A’s, and graduated from speech and occupational therapy. By the time the year ended, joy and pride had replaced anger and frustration on my parents’ faces.
My success continued and by eighth grade I decided A’s in regular classes weren’t good enough so I upgraded to honors level. I remember the discussion at dinner before the school year began. My parents warned me that I was taking too demanding a course load, but I knew I was up to the challenge. I again finished the year with straight A’s.
At the start of high school I was officially declassified as learning disabled. Eager to take on school without this label, I opted for an honors course load the first three years. Each year I was warned that my classes would be too challenging, but I never doubted that I could succeed. This year I’m taking four AP classes and, despite familiar warnings, I wish my schedule allowed more.
I think it’s safe to say I’ve struggled more than most. I still can’t ride a bike, and just this morning I spilled coffee all over my father’s breakfast. I spent my youth coping with a learning disability, and I guess you could say I’ve been trying to force the round peg into the square hole since birth. As you might imagine, this has led me to doubt myself, but I know that regardless of what others say, it is possible to round out that square hole. That’s how I know I will be the face and leader of a major corporation one day.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.