Many people believe that high school is the “best four years of your life,” and I thought this sentiment would be the same for me, but as I was playing Scrabble with my family that statement became something of a distant thought for the next five years. Yes, five years of difficulties and struggles of my high school education. As an eighth grader, I didn’t think that a chronic neurological disorder was going to be a puzzle piece of my life. One that had no scientific explanation or genetic answer, it just was. I didn’t assume that one-day I was “fine,” and the next I was going to be shuttled into an ambulance with blue lips.
Still in middle school, I was newly diagnosed with epilepsy and didn’t know my triggers yet, and kids had these beautiful trinkets called iPhones, which can get strobe lights at a touch of a button. So they would throw flickering lights in my face without me aware of it.
Following middle school, I attended a small high school, and gradually started to have more seizures, which took me out of school. My school wasn’t pleased with this, and friends slowly drifted to the wayside. I was admitted to Mayo Clinic two months into my freshmen year, and had to end the “best four years of my life,” which I realized were going to be exhausting and wearisome.
I moved to Chicago and started my high school experience again that I already had a sour taste in mouth about. People who don’t have knowledge about epilepsy are not aware of the many types of seizures there are. I do not have tonic-clonics or grand mals that people see on TV shows, I have seizures that sometimes inhibit me to finish tests at the allotted time every student has, or I need accommodations. I have had teachers become scared of me and send me to guidance counselors, or have told me “During your seizures, you can’t process reading that’s not numbers, finish the test.” I walked out promptly, after that.
A student with epilepsy deserves the same respect that all students receive. Being diagnosed with epilepsy has given me the strength to stand up not just for myself, but also for others that are not respected at the same level they rightly deserve. I have gone through many types of education, public, private, and online high school, and I think once I saw that I was respected by my teachers in online high school, I saw the sentiment of the “best five years of my life,” come true.