This is the essay I submitted to the NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) for their 2015 Children’s Scholarship Award contest. I hope you enjoy it!
As each student finished presenting, another one would go up. My turn drew closer, and I felt like my heart was beating out of my chest. I could feel my tics getting worse. I was shrieking, hitting myself, and sweating profusely with each passing second. What if I fail this project? What if people laugh at me? Will I embarrass myself? These questions haunted my mind and created a vicious cycle that would translate into loud vocal tics. After what felt like an eternity, it was finally my turn to present. I got through my presentation and to my surprise, I received cheering and applause. My name is Sanjit Singh and I have had Tourette syndrome since the 4th grade.
My journey towards reaching that milestone presentation was anything but an easy one. As my vocal and physical tics became more severe, so did the glances and stares from random strangers. I wished they would realize that the level of inconvenience they felt from my tics was nothing compared to all the hardships I had to deal with my entire life. Mundane tasks such as sitting in a library or going to concerts always made me second-guess myself because I was afraid that my tics would ruin the peace of others. Despite my considerate intentions, I endured years of bullying for a medical condition I have absolutely no control over. My confidence and self-esteem were at an all-time low, and I finally decided that it was time for me to define my life rather than let Tourette syndrome define it for me.
I choose to let my experiences inspire me. I started going to class with more confidence and eventually stopped caring about how others perceived me. With the help of the excellent support system in place at my high school for students like me, I started to do well on my homework and exams. I started to believe that being different didn’t always have to mean being worse. Having Tourette syndrome gives me a deeper understanding of human nature and puts me in the unique position to study Psychology and become a Special Education teacher for Elementary school. I love finding creative ways to reach out to young children. I have been known for my storytelling among preschoolers, as it riles up their enthusiasm and gets their imaginations running. I truly understand that all people go through their own battles. I never “judge a book by its cover”. I have developed much patience with people and have a strong desire to help them become the best versions of themselves. My goal is to use my experiences with Tourette syndrome to make the world a better place, by helping each person realize his full potential.