Having continually struggled throughout my school years and feeling I’d failed, I went to college and continued to struggle. College for me was merely a continuation of my school years. Although I feel embarrassed that I have very little of a school education, I’m not seeing that as my issue now, because it isn’t.
By my parents keeping my diagnosis and my symptoms from the very institution that could have helped me, my education was always destined to fail, but where my teachers could have asked questions, they sadly didn’t. It was clear to me that I was struggling. My teachers were aware I was falling behind my peers academically because I know conversations between the school and my parents took place, but they never acted on those conversations.
I have my own understanding on why school let me down. In part I suspect a contributing factor was the difficulty the school inevitably had with working with my father, in the same way my Specialists had. As a consequence of that, I had little choice but to go to college and enrol on a secretarial and shorthand course. I fell into line with the idea of Secretarial college, but I wasn’t happy.
In college, it didn’t help that I was given a manual typewriter that I was struggling to use. Because there were only a handful of automatic typewriters at that time and I didn’t know why I had a problem with my typing, I wasn’t in a position to do anything about it. I remember struggling to press the keys down on my affected side that I didn’t know was affected. I remember being told to speed up, but in speed tests I simply continued to fall behind.
That was one issue. Another issue was that I had a hard time getting shoes to fit, so in my first year of college my father took the decision that I should have a bunion removed in term time and having been absent from college for around 4 weeks, I had an enormous amount of catching up to do. Sadly, a few weeks later because the operation wasn’t a success, I left college again and headed back to hospital for a second operation.
On my return to college I was still struggling to understand how to learn. I wasn’t grasping my studies. I felt embarrassed that others were making progress and I wasn’t. For my parents, putting me through college was a box ticking exercise.
After leaving college I moved into the working world and although that didn’t start off too well, my working life slowly improved once I’d moved to a leading firm of lawyers. It was a much bigger company and I soon settled into working life. Within a year I had moved my way up to working for a Partner in Commercial Property Law. I excelled and began to make a name for myself.
After a couple of years and having to work more late evenings that I cared to, I requested a move to another department and was given a new Partner to work for who had just joined the firm, this time in Commercial Litigation. It felt good that I was making strides again.
That company would be my working home for the next few years. I had made lots of friends and was happy at work, for the first time.