Life can be hard but anything worth doing is hard. For some of us, life can send us obstacles that make it even harder such as a disability like a visual impairment.
I was diagnosed with Bardet-Biedl Syndrome (BBS) at the age of 6 and from that point onwards parts of my education were harder due to the challenges of being visually impaired. The hardest part of my journey through school was my GCSE exams. I had 17 exams which is hard for most students but due to my extra time requirement they were all twice as long, so an hour and a half exam was three hours long. I also had to type all my written exams and I had enlarged papers along with someone to read them out in case I misread a question. My LSAs were great in their support but not being able to read a question for yourself or see an image or graph properly was very, very tough.
When it came to receiving my results in summer, I was nervous and unsure about what grade I would achieve in each subject. I ended up with Ds in everything apart from one subject which was food preparation and nutrition, my favourite subject, which I got a B in.
I was devastated, I had not achieved the results I had hoped for, and I felt as though I was not good enough. Not only that but it made me extremely worried about what I would do in September since I could not do the A levels I had planned to do as my grades were not high enough.
The main thing that got me through that time of failure and doubt is the incredible support of family, friends and the staff at school telling me that I was good enough and reassuring me that it would be ok. They helped me understand that failure is a true learning experience and that everything happens for a reason because my school offered a retake year which meant I could redo maths, English language, and science along with trying new subjects like level 2 finance and level 2 health and social care. It was hard knowing that I would have to retake these exams again and I had to believe in myself that I had learnt from the first-time round and get the grades I wanted this time.
Fast forward to my exam results day the following year and not only did I get better grades in my maths, science, and English exams, I discovered a subject that I have a passion for and carried them on as an A level. The feeling on that results day was incredible, I was crying again but this time of pure joy as were my family and staff that had helped me at school. If I had not failed in that first year, I would have never gotten that chance to discover those new subjects. The whole experience was a huge lesson in my life and has taught me that failing is not a negative thing, it might seem like it at the time, but it might be that you need to fail to discover something even better.