My Secret Identity | Bard College Undergraduate Application Essay

“It’s okay! Just breathe!” I said to myself in an attempt to suppress my unfaltering anxiety. I restlessly skimmed the pictures in a Clifford the Big Red Dog book, typical of me during independent reading. All the while I kept my head down, focused on the words, and paced myself to the rhythm of page turning set by my classmates, who could actually read, in case anyone was watching. To my seven year-old self, nothing was more foreboding than this “silent reading time”. As I sat with fearful anticipation, tears flooded my eyes, blurring my vision until Clifford the big red dog became a big red smudge. Choking my tears back, I looked up to find her in the doorway. The embarrassment I felt was unnerving as heads turned to watch my special educator lead me out of class.

Just weeks before, I had been escorted out of my classroom for the first time to be tested for dyslexia. Soon I began to leave class regularly to learn the fundamentals that seemed to come so quickly to everyone else. I wanted to believe I was no different from my peers, but I knew why I had to leave. My fear was that my class knew too. I pleaded with my parents and teachers, but it was no use. The truth is, I was a lousy reader. If I couldn’t avoid special…

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