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2013 NJCTS Children’s Scholarship Award Essay: “The Brighter Side of an Obstacle”

This is the essay I submitted to the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) for their 2013 Children’s Scholarship Award contest. I hope you enjoy it! And here is my profile on the NJCTS website.

Travis, ConnorImagine waking up every morning knowing you are in for a battle, starting each day well aware that you are facing something that you cannot control. Envision knowing that you cannot defeat it and never will. This has been my life for the past eight years.

When I was 9 years old, I was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. Not knowing much about the disorder was difficult for my family and me, but we learned how to cope with it together. I will have to live with Tourette for the rest of my life because there is no cure.

Even while challenging me every day, it has provided me with some great experiences and the opportunity to meet some remarkable people. Tourette has definitely made me stronger and wiser.

Dealing with Tourette while I was in elementary and middle school was a constant struggle. Although I have a mild case, it still affected my everyday life. At first, I did not know how to live with Tourette, and it showed. I was constantly distracted by my tics and struggled to concentrate.

Medication was prescribed several times, but the results were minimal. I saw several specialists, and having someone to talk to made it easier to manage. As I got older and learned more about Tourette, I was better able to cope with it. The symptoms also started to decrease.

Living with Tourette Syndrome for so many years has had a positive impact on me, despite all of the obstacles.

When I was younger, I was nervous talking about my disorder with others. Now, I embrace it and share my story. Over the years, I have met some interesting people with Tourette who have helped me to cope. I can now return the favor by sharing my experiences and knowledge with others.

Currently, I visit schools and talk to classes about the disorder. There is one student I especially like spending time with: Jack is in 3rd grade and is also struggling with Tourette. He sees me as a role model. It is important for kids to learn about Tourette and great for kids who are diagnosed to know that they are not alone. My volunteer work in the local schools is only a small piece of my community service involvement.

Though it has been tough, overcoming the challenges of Tourette has taught me many things. I am now able to look at the positive side of situations and have the drive to keep pushing through hard times. With my hard work and perseverance, I learned to cope with my Tourette and have significantly improved my academic performance during my high school years.

I have always been determined to play baseball at the college level and have worked toward this goal for many years. Though my Tourette sometimes impacts my play on the field, I was recruited by a few different college and will playing next year at Arcadia University.

I will have to live with Tourette forever, but the experiences, knowledge and lessons that this disorder provided me also will stay with me. Perseverance with my Tourette Syndrome has made a significant impact on my life and has shaped me into the man I am today.

I am proud of who I am and all that I’ve overcome in my life. Despite my obstacles, I am proud to be going off to college, where I want to further my education while continuing my community service and educating others about Tourette Syndrome.

ConnorT

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