I walked out of my presentation, nervous. One friend stood with me in the hallway. I already sensed that I had not met my expectations. My mind wanted to go blank. But I had to walk back inside the room. My eyes landed on my mom, grandmother, and the panel of graders. I felt myself failing. My fear is failure.


My entire life I have always worked hard. And often, I have to work twice as hard as my peers. In fifth grade I was diagnosed with a learning disability. Before I knew I had a learning disability, school was challenging. I didn’t like to go to school because I felt embarrassed that I wasn’t learning anything. When my mom would ask how school was going I wouldn’t tell her the truth because I didn’t want to worry her. I had to put a performance to show that I understood, but I truly didn’t. When teachers asked questions, I wouldn’t participate because I wouldn’t know what to say. I never understood why I couldn’t process the information and lessons. When I learned what type of learning disability I have, I was able to adapt and understand the process of my learning more.


Now, I do enjoy school, but have to work extra hard to have the outcomes I want. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I think of those who support me, especially my parents. I want to show my parents that all their hard work has paid off with my successes. My dad moved to the United States when he was sixteen and never received any formal education. He has worked hard his whole life for my family. I look up to my dad. He is one of my role models. My dad is a caring and hardworking person. I pick up those skills from him.


My sophomore year of high school, when I had to complete this capstone presentation, I was facing a major challenge, a challenge that I thought I wouldn’t be able to overcome. I did not pass my presentation that day and had to represent for my teachers. Trying to juggle school, home, my social life, and extracurricular activities was hard for me. And that day I felt I had reached my breaking point. I didn’t know how to manage my time, and I had put others before myself.


After I went through this experience, I realized I have to put myself before others. I told myself that if I wanted to be better I had to focus on myself and my needs. It’s not being selfish; it’s knowing how to self care. I also learned that it is okay to feel failure. Failure can be what pushes a person to make a change. In many ways I felt stronger. I learned that the best way to learn is by learning from your fears and mistakes.


I am proud of the person I am becoming; I know how to work around any obstacle in my way. Having a learning disability has taught me that hard work is only one part of the solution. I taught myself  to accept that I have a learning disability. Sometimes there can be negative outcomes when working hard. For me, working hard turned out to be very overwhelming. Since I wasn’t paying attention to my needs so that caused my breaking point. Now I know that having a clear understanding of who I am, advocating for myself based on that understanding, and practicing self care are all essential for me to handle any future “failures” and reach my goals.

  1. Ryan 12 months ago

    Dear Andrea,

    I am moved by your story “Identity vs. Identity Performance” because it shows your transition from fearing failure to embracing it. I think this shows how people and their perspectives on life are always changing. You changed because of a failure. You had a realization from your failure. You put others before yourself because of your failure.

    One sentence you wrote that stood out to me is “I am proud of the person I am becoming.” I think this is easy to admit when things are going right but I believe it’s even harder to live by when we are met by failure.

    Thanks for sharing your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next about who you are becoming.

  2. Angeles 2 years ago

    Dear Andrea,
    I love how you talk about your struggles but than turned it into something positive. I like how you talk about who motivated you and how hard your dad has worked. I also like how you talk about how you like school now but when you feel overwhelmed you think about the people that support you and you keep working hard. This motivates me a lot because sometimes I feel like quitting but now I know to keep working hard.

  3. Lis 2 years ago

    Dear Andrea,
    Thank you for writing, about something that may have not been easy especially in a cite that is public. You have the courage to write about something like this and being comfortable with it really does show how amazing and the courage that you have to write. I am looking forward to reading more of your work. Thank you for being an open book, I really did enjoy reading this piece.

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