The Renegade Rip

It doesn’t define me

Christina Benavides, Reporter

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Our struggles are not always visible. I have a specific learning disability that affects my mental health and education. When you are a community college student, normally your goal is to graduate or transfer as soon as possible; however, this can be difficult when you are dealing with a learning disability and battling mental health issues.

Learning disabilities are described as neurologically-based processing problems, according to Learning Disabilities Association of America. There are a variety of learning disabilities that affect students, but there are some well-known terms that I have found ignorant.

All my life I have heard the term “Special Ed” thrown around as a joke. Over time, I grew to be ashamed of having a learning disability. The term “Special Ed” is referred to students who are in Special Education, and it is additional help in schools for students who have learning disabilities.

As a child in elementary school, I did not like the feeling of being separated from my classmates when they did math. I had to leave class to go to another classroom, and this is where I spent time with kids that dealt with similar learning disabilities as me.

There was always some sort of comfort being around these people because they understood what I was going through. My other classmates? Not so much.

I have vivid memories of kids whispering when I would have to leave during a math lesson. I remember in Jr. High everyone knew where the classroom was for students in Special Education. Although, all my other classes were college prep courses, I felt like I was not intelligent. The looks people gave me as I walked toward that classroom is not forgotten.

I have not fully accepted my learning disability, but I do understand it more than I did when I was younger. A person with a learning disability is not “stupid”. We are intelligent human beings who have a lifelong condition we cope with.

My learning disability has made me feel upset numerous times. Often it led to emotional breakdowns, where I was angry at myself. It can be frustrating learning subjects because it looks so easy for everyone else. I would hear the same thing from every math instructor I have ever had, “Just keep practicing” or “Go to tutoring to ask for help.”

I recall going to tutoring for hours here at BC, I visited my professor during office hours, I stayed up nights practicing, and even took advantage of accommodations DSPS (Disabled Students Programs and Services) provided me. It took a toll on my depression and anxiety because I felt like I was not intelligent enough.The frustration, learning disabilities bring to students, like me, is hard to manage, but it does not mean we are not able to overcome obstacles. Although I’m horrible at math, I have found my strengths in writing.

Those of us with learning disabilities are not abnormal, and many of us go on to have successful lives. There are plenty of creative minds that have this condition.

Daniel Radcliffe, well-known for the “Harry Potter” series, struggled in school due to his learning disability, according to GreatSchools. He is not the only entertainer either, there are several others, such as award-winning director, Steven Spielberg, who was not diagnosed with Dyslexia until he was 60.

You do not have to be famous to be successful. Anyone can have a learning disability. We might have to work twice as hard for what we want, but we are just like everyone else.

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It doesn’t define me