Last Friday, I had my PhD graduation.
It was a very long 6-year road that took me around life’s quirky bends such as Dyslexia, Asperger’s, Bipolar, Anorexia, self harm and my thyroids dying. It was also a much longer journey that saw me from being at the bottom of school classes and being bullied horrendously, to achieving the highest standard in education with some fantastic friends.
If you ever thought having Dyslexia means you can’t write, that is wrong. You can learn to write. I went from flunking essays at school to writing a 100,000 words thesis with very little corrections. If you ever also thought having Dyslexia means you can’t read, that is also wrong. You can learn to love reading, especially if you find exactly what it is that you enjoy reading.
If you ever thought having Asperger’s means you can’t interact with people, you are wrong. You can learn to interact with people. I went from being so awkward that even teachers gave up on me to teaching lecture theatres with 200+ university students.
If you ever thought having Bipolar means you cannot complete a big project because of your manic and depression phases will make it impossible to continue, you are wrong. You can learn to pace yourself and do the work when you can. You can also make your enviroment learn that you are person with some ups and downs that need a little more time and patience.
If you ever thought having mental health and physical health issues mean you have to give up your dream, you are wrong. You can learn to live with them. With the exception of being dead, there is always a way to work around any health issues so that you can achieve your dreams. No hurdle is too big for you to justify throwing your dreams away for.
If you ever thought you can achieve your dream on your own, you are very wrong. It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a village, a whole university department and an army of family and friends to get you through the rough patches and celebrate your achievements with you.
Don’t ever let naysayers and negative people stop you from going for your big dream. You have to say ‘up yours’ to them quietly in your head as you take the first step towards your goal today, tomorrow and the next day. Then one day, you will be able to say ‘UP YOURS, I did it!’ at the top of your lung to the world.