Christian is a 2019 NJCTS Scholarship Second Place Winner.
This was the essay included within his application.
I am a 17 year old who is interested in your college scholarship program. I have been diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome which includes vocal and motor tics since age three.
Currently I am a senior in High School and in the process of applying to colleges in the state of New Jersey. I am a very ambitious young man who is determined to succeed in college. I have overcome a lot of pain and suffering which is associated with my Tourette Syndrome.
I have suffered a lot of mental and emotional abuse by people who were ignorant to the understanding of Tourette Syndrome. In the past, I have been bullied to the point of physical sickness by people. I have been yelled at, scolded, and teased by people of all ages who did not understand my tics. I have been offended and emotionally hurt countless times by people who did not even know me or what my condition was.
Some examples are, one time when I was younger, and I had a tic of rolling my eyes, and someone scolded me and yelled “Don’t you roll your eyes at me little boy.” When I was in kindergarten, a teacher became annoyed with me because of my tics then, proceeded to take my lunch and squish it in her fingers on the table right in front of me and I had to go hungry all day. Now I realize this shouldn’t have happened to me or anyone else. There are numerous far more painful incidents I can not disclose due to the sensitivity of the situations.
Often, I am in a lot of physical pain because my tics, which cause my arms and legs to jerk violently which injures my muscles, joints, and nerves. Climbing a flight of stairs can be hard for me because currently I have a tic of jerking my legs which causes pain in my knees joints. Sometimes the pain is so bad I can’t even stand up.
However, all of this continues to make me a better and stronger person. As a result of what I have endured, I have become a very compassionate and understanding person with empathy of other people’s emotions and feelings. I can relate to disabled people and have become understanding of how difficult life can be for them.
This is why my goal is to pursue a career in the medical field. It is my life’s dream to help people in their physical, mental, and emotional state and overcoming these types of obstacles. My Tourettes have given me mental strength because I have been mocked by other teens for my neurological condition. This mocking and bullying has taught me how to defend myself in a respectful and kind way. I have learned how not to be overly sensitive when someone I do not know insults or demeans me in an obnoxious way. I have learned how to overcome my disability and go to school every day and not be distracted by the sound of my own tics.
I will continue learning and I will become an even stronger person, as I will not stop here. I have one life to live, and I am going to enjoy and cherish it regardless of who may make rude comments about my tics. If the idiom is true that life is ‘sink or swim’ then I am going to keep calm and swim on…
Thank you to everyone at NJCTS for all your help in the past and present.