David is a 2019 NJCTS Scholarship Second Place Award Winner.
This is the essay he submitted with his scholarship application.
Hello, my name is David, and I have lived with Tourette Syndrome for all seventeen years of my life. However, I was not diagnosed until 1st grade.
My Tourette makes everyday life quite difficult. My right leg kicks out, my arms fly out, my head shakes, and I make this strange monster noise. Sometimes it gets so bad that I end up puking. But I always manage to get back up on my feet, which could take ma from a minute to a day.
There are things that help me with it though. You might think that means medications. Although that is true, my medications don’t help me all the time. So, when my symptoms spike, I sew little plush monsters. This is usually my go-to when I’m at home instead of school because of it. I also do martial arts, specifically Tae Kwon Do – Chung Do Kwan.
I also like to imagine things, mainly crazy creatures. I have a whole universe in my head full of them. I’ve been building this world since I was four years old, and when my Tourette’s gets so bad that I can’t even move, I just go there.
If people are around me, the best things they can do to help me are step back so they don’t get hurt by my flailing arms and leg, and start a conversation with me. Eventually, it will all calm down.
In school, things can get rough. The tics often make it rather difficult to concentrate, and often I have to go to the nurse’s office to relax when things get bad, or even go home early if the tics don’t settle. I also have a one-on-one aide who’s with me all day who helps me get from class to class and helps me out when the tics get bad. Despite everything that goes on, I prevail, and maintain an almost consistent 4.0 GPA. I also managed to get accepted to New Jersey Institute of Technology on early admission due to academic achievements.
I look forward to what the future brings, at NJIT and beyond.