Growing up with Tourette Syndrome, I have always dealt with feeling different. When I was young, other kids didn’t understand my tics, and adults assumed I was being problematic. Children and adults alike asked me why I was doing what I was doing and would ask me to stop. Since getting older, however, my peers have learned not to ask questions, and the adults have stopped assuming that I do it on purpose. Although they do not talk about it, I still feel alienated by my tics. I see classmates stare at me during lectures and I notice their whispers to one another. I see people across the dining hall point at me when I am having tics. The stares in class lead me to struggle to suppress my tics, and often result in me missing out on important comments from my professors.
Since starting college, I have had some difficulty getting proper accommodations from the Disability Resource Center. Unfortunately, nobody specializes in Tourette’s. Sometimes it seems as though the staff at the DRC only pretend to care, and act as though they understand how my tics affect me. The biggest challenge my tics have presented in recent months has been typing. I move so much and so frequently that I often miss keys or must stop typing altogether because I simply cannot sit still enough to align myself with the computer. This causes a lot of trouble for me because, as a chemistry major, I am expected to write several lab reports a week. In an effort to get my assignments done, I have begun using voice to text applications on my computer, which doesn’t type equations correctly and is prone to typos that I then have to go through and fix after I finish. The most frustrating part about not being able to write my labs is simple: I love chemistry. Chemistry is my favorite thing to do and I excel at it, and it often feels like my tics are taking my ability to enjoy it away from me.
I am determined to succeed in my classes despite the setbacks my tics cause. I regularly attend my professors’ office hours, participate in study groups and attend optional recitations, lectures and seminars. I do not always win when fighting for what I need, but my hope is that the more I fight for myself and adapt to the problems I incur, the stronger I will become.
I think I deserve to receive this scholarship because I refuse to let my tics stop me from doing my best. During my time at school, I have never received anything lower than an A, and I have continued acting in important leadership roles such as a team leader on a service trip to the Dominican Republic, and more recently as the event coordinator of the Northeastern University Global Health Initiative. I do not plan to slow down or rest until I have done all that I have set out to do.