Last week I posted a Facebook live video about how working harder because you have dyslexia isn’t a bad thing. I talked about how having to overcome multiple setbacks including failing two classes made graduating especially monumental for me. A parent commented on it and asked if I thought there was a difference between working hard and struggling. I absolutely believe there is, and wanted to explain my thoughts on the topic. I’m grateful she brought forth this question so we could dive into it further.
Before getting accommodations at college, I was struggling. This displayed itself in two ways for me: for one it impacted me emotionally, and I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about it and so it was my dirty secret I had to carry around with me and secondly I couldn’t keep up with the high demand of work and so fell behind quickly. My tried and true method that took me through high school of pouring more and more hours into the work, just couldn’t support me here. There were just not enough hours in the day with five classes that all required a great deal of my attention. It was as if I had a small hole in my canoe and as the water rushed in all I had to remove it with was a teaspoon. As the weeks went by the hole in my boat grew exponentially in size, and then I started sinking.
I’m not saying accommodations are always the silver bullet that patches the boat and saves the day, but for me they definitely were. I resented them at first, but there was no denying the fact they had come to my rescue. They helped me go from working hard and struggling to working hard and succeeding.
I believe there’s a point where working hard can turn into struggling. However, I think it should be noted that I’m also a strong advocate of working hard and credit my dyslexia to my strong work ethic which has helped me succeed in many areas of my life. The key is finding that Goldilocks middle ground and for me, a large part of that was accepting and embracing my accommodations.