Jordan was a second place winner of a 2021 NJCTS Scholarship Award.
This was the essay he included with his application.
Tourette has been a defining part of my life, and dealing with it has shown my growth in
many different ways. Before my diagnosis, I did not understand this strange feeling of needing
to twitch and what not. However, after meeting with a doctor who suggested that it might be
Tourette, I began to understand what this really was, and at first seemed confused and didn’t
know exactly how to approach it. My personality was altered following these changes in my life.
I tried to balance my schoolwork and other tasks with what seemed to be an additional
distraction along the way, and being diagnosed with ADD I really didn’t need any other
distractions, but it was quite difficult for some time. Eventually, I began to realize that this was
going to be a part of me. I needed to develop different ways to balance my life, whether it be
with friends, sitting in the classroom, or simply going about my day. The way I had to approach
this needed to make sure I was able to maintain this balance. While doing so, I also reimagined
my Tourette from a distraction and a difficulty to a personality trait. From the beginning, my tics
were something that prevented me from working at my fullest, as part of how I may have been
confused by this new diagnosis. I didn’t want to let this control me. I sought out to seek others
who faced the same adversity as I did, attending different events to socialize with others with
TS. I had never really been able to do this before, since I always thought I was the only one.
These events would go on to pave the way for me to embrace my TS, as I listened to how
others might have dealt with their tics, and how I wasn’t alone. I was also interested in how TS
functioned, and wanted to make sure I knew of my disability and wanted to understand not only
how I was dealing with certain tics, but also how my peers might have. This is where the Tim
Howard Leadership Academy came into play, which really helped me step out of my comfort
zone and truly advocate for myself. I found myself in a very welcoming environment, living
together with several others who faced difficulties just like me. I felt a part of a family, and
realized that TS is what I make of it. Looking back, I truly have come a long way from my initial
diagnosis to where I am now, making TS a part of who I am.