Alana Michaels                                                                                     2/28/05

Expos 8.                                                                                                           Mrs. Gokturk



A problem, I think not


It's 5th period in math class, the student teacher is still going on about logarithms and I, well, I’m in my own little world. Here there are no logarithms, no right answers. There are no teachers that need to retire but are still teaching. In here it is just me and my pen. My instrument of victory, my paintbrush to my masterpiece, my basketball to the winning game, my perfect hurdles to the winning track meet, this is my winning streak. The page is filled with the scribbles here and there, the occasional spirals, the circles, dots to and fro, triangles that flow into squares: these are my doodles. In this place where my mind sometimes goes, my Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is welcomed, and accepted as a gift rather than a burden.

            Most people in a work place or an educational facility have had their speculations about my disorder without even meeting me. Over the summer, I worked at a day camp as an arts and crafts specialist, jewelry making mostly. Before I received the job, I had to undergo two summers of CIT, a “Counselor in Training.” Before I received that position I had to go for an interview. Even though I had been going to that camp since I was five, they still asked me about my ADHD. They wondered if I could keep it under control, or deal with children, or be appropriate. The summers of 2002 – 2004 I proved them all wrong. At the arts and crafts shack I was the only one that could sit down and alphabetize the millions of alphabet beads we had. Even though I knew that the next day they would all be out of sorts again, sorting the spiral beads, with the squares and the squares with the triangles. ADHD is a mental disorder that can not only cripple one’s ability to pay attention, but ironically it can also allow the person to devote unexplainable amounts of attention to something, as well as still be able to multi task. A lot of people think that once prescribed the medication, all of a sudden they are cured. However, this is quite the contrary. In order for the medication to work a person has to make it work. I’ve had to study harder, and work harder to get the grades I want, and to be the person I wanted to be. I’ve had to struggle to be myself, while fighting the hardest enemy... me.

            My teachers have had their own views of my disorder as well.

“Alana, Alana are you in there,” these are the first words I hear coming out of my math teacher’s mouth.

“Yes, Mrs. Siener, I’m here.” I respond with a dull tone.

“Alana, what is the answer to the question we just asked? Or were you not paying attention?”

“The cubed route of forty-five,” I reply with a sigh.

The faces of my fellow students are dumbfounded. Was she really paying attention? They wonder. Of course I was. I was never able to fall asleep in class no matter how hard I would try. Yet zoning out never seemed to be a problem. Thus it was always something I needed to work on. Little did my fellow students know while I was in my doodling world, I was still aware of my surroundings, and what was going on.

            In the 10th grade I was a tutor for an eighth grader struggling in school. This opportunity caught me by surprise, the fact that I was a tutor, me, after being tutored for 5 years of my life, I now was able to help someone else. The fact that when I was younger I was this child, this kid who is learning slower than other children, this child that is feeling left out, and now I was being given a chance to help them. This was the most amazing gift that I was given from tutoring. This experience was a realization for me. It allowed me to prove to myself that I could in fact help people learn, and give back to the system that I had received when I was younger. The fact that I was finally starting to become the person I was born to be.

Making the honor roll in the ninth grade was a first for me. It wasn’t just a piece of paper in the mail; it was a trophy for me. My hard work, my extra time spent studying and going in for extra help, had all paid off. Within the year that followed, I made the honor roll three out of four times, and hopefully this year all four quarters. It has been a big accomplishment for me to overcome my ADHD, and to control it. While I still take my medication for it, I will sometimes skip it to prove to myself that I can control my own life. Hyperactivity in all its glory is part of who I am. Now that I’ve just learned how to incorporate it without it harming any other aspects of my life, it allows me to think on two or more levels at the same time. This is who I am, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.