25 Feb Davíd, Winter 2017
“The challenges that I have overcome remind me that it’s not just me, I’m not alone, and neither are you.”
At Seattle Central, it was so easy to get involved. In community college, everyone respected me and I was doing well. One of my proudest moments there was getting into Phi Theta Kappa, which was the honor society. Coming to UW, especially as a Mexican-American transfer adult learner – older than the traditional college student – as well as being a student from various underrepresented groups was a huge hurdle. At UW, the classes were more difficult because the pace was faster. At community college, we had an extra week and the smaller classes created a different environment. At UW, I didn’t know how to get involved. I applied to tons of on-campus positions with First-Year Programs, HFS, ASUW, and more, but I wanted it too fast. I didn’t let people get to know me or build credibility before I applied to positions. I didn’t know what was going on, and I just had a really big ego. One day I approached a psychology professor to ask about a midterm I had failed, and she noticed something about my mental health. She knew I understood the material and noticed that I was showing characteristics of dysgraphia, which is similar to dyslexia. Things went downhill from there. I was assaulted, had financial issues, which resulted in having really violent ideations. I talked to my family and we decided that I’d take the quarter off and seek medical attention to find out what was going on. I had been diagnosed with ADD and depression before, but in winter quarter I started the actual process of evaluation. It was a huge relief once I was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Disability Resources for Students (DRS) allowed for reduced credit load and my grades started to improve. Outside of academia, Unite UW became a place that I could look forward to being my authentic self with other students that eventually became my family. My academics also improved because of the opportunities the Center of Communication, Difference, and Equity (CCDE) gave me as a peer facilitator, CLUE tutor, honors student, and researcher. The challenges that I have overcome remind me that it’s not just me, I’m not alone, and neither are you.