Vaughn Flowers

Growing up, I have always had difficulties with school. Middle school was difficult for me so entering into high school I was scared and nervous because I thought it was going to be part two of middle school and I was going to fall behind and struggle. I didn’t know what to expect. Surprisingly, freshmen year was the complete opposite of what I thought high school was going to be for me. Not only was I having success in the classroom, but I was also able to manage and participate in extracurricular activities such as basketball. For the first time, I had teachers and coaches that cared about my academic success and were willing to take the time to work with me. My teachers provided me with the resources and tools for me to succeed, allowing me to push through when I was having a difficult time. I started to become more confident when it came to school, but after a while, I started to think to myself that what was given to me was cheating because I was receiving additional help and it felt that it wasn’t really my own work. Because of those thoughts, I tried to use the help and resources I received less and less. I wanted to see how much I could do on my own which resulted in a drop of my grades and my academic confidence. My confidence dropped a lot because I thought I wasn’t smart enough to be successful on my own. I carried that mindset and burden all the way until my senior year. 


That thought and mindset changed once I had a conversation with Ms.Collins. She explained to me that it wasn’t cheating or the easy way out, it was my legal right to have these accommodations, and it helped put me on a level playing field as everyone else. After we had that conversation a huge weight was lifted and everything was clearer and made a lot more sense to me. The feeling of cheating started to slowly go away and I finally understood that this was the normal for me. After that conversation, I gained a lot more confidence and I did not care about others' opinions. I did what I needed to do to be successful. I embraced this newfound confidence and took advantage of what resources I had available to me and school became enjoyable again, even more so than in my freshman year because I had a clearer understanding of my learning differences and I didn’t have that feeling of it being cheating anymore. 


Once all of those negative thoughts went away not only did I become more confident and comfortable with my academic abilities but also realized life became more enjoyable. I didn’t doubt myself any longer. Now whatever I do such as basketball or any other activity I know things may get tough, but I realize I just needed to take the additional time that I need because that is how my mind works and now I'm perfectly fine with that.