Being My Own Advocate

Being My Own Advocate

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Being My Own Advocate

“Oh my, Lauren, I can’t believe my eyes!” This is all I could hear ringing in my ears when my parents opened my report card. You see, growing up dyslexic, I always needed to work harder, and I did so successfully until I began high school. I never really knew how to be my own advocate; my parents were always there for me. I grew up with private tutors and learning programs throughout my whole life. Being gifted, I was able to compensate until high school.

I know we were both overwhelmed when I received my first C on a report card. I kept asking myself over and over again, how could this happen? I knew I learned differently, but for some reason, now things were not going well for me academically.

Being accepted into the four year, signature Honors Magnet Global Ecology Program was quite an accomplishment. I thought my strengths in both math and science would help carry me through this rigorous academic curriculum. I was wrong! I hit a brick wall and I hit it hard. Having a parent who was a special educator and dyslexic as well kept me afloat; however, I needed to use the resources available both inside and outside of the school to begin my journey to academic success. It took me until my junior year of high school to understand just how and what I needed to do to be all I could. I learned this the hard way on my own; it cost me admission in to the National Honor Society, being recommended to AP Biology and AP US History. I needed to begin to take charge of my life and set the goals necessary to get back on my feet. I needed to prove to myself that wanting to go on to a pre-med major in college was a possible dream.

Junior year, I began listening to those who loved and cared about me first by getting organized, communicating with my teachers, using all the accommodations I was entitled to and, for the first time, attending a resource class. The last step was the hardest for me, I just did not know what to think; what would the other kids say, “Oh you’re in the stupid class.” “ Why are you in there?” After being in resource class, I realized that it would help become more organized, both in school and out it would help me to find the needed balance between all my classes and all my extra curricular activities.

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I played three high school sports, winter and summer league basketball and field hockey; I was also working on my Girl Scout Gold Award and trying to have some kind of social life. It was not easy. Now, I realized just how important my grades were and I needed to set some basic goals to get started.

My junior year was more successful. My grades improved dramatically. I was nominated for Who’s Who Among High School Students and to National Honor Roll. Both honors recognizing the top 5% of all high schools students nationwide. I ended my junior year with an overall 3.41 grade point average, just missing the 3.5 necessary for nomination to National Honor Society. This was a disappointment but it did not dampen my spirit.

Being my own advocate helped me get through those “tough years” which I needed to get through on my own. This helped me become the person that I am today!
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