Heading to college is quite the transition for any young man or woman, regardless of physical ability. Add muscular dystrophy to that formula, and the drama becomes worth of reality television, I believe.
Who doesn't want to experience the freedom and independence of adulthood? Who doesn't want to get to decide when they wake up and when they go to sleep and when or what they eat just because they can. Well, living with a physical disability tends to place a bit of a learning curve on all those new, fun leases on life that typically are granted when entering college.
I am entering my senior year in college, and I would be lying if I did not explain that I decided to take the hard road over the last three years and have sparring matches with my disability on a weekly basis. I didn't like him and he obviously didn't like me, so like any other well-respected fighter, I would try and take kidney shots at my disability.
I would leave my homework until the last minute and try out all-nighters just because I could. I would order gross late-night delivery from the sketchiest of places. I would do anything and everything to be just another normal college guy. Well, every time I pulled a night without sleep, I had to miss an entire day of classes because I could not function physically, and I would get sick within several days, leaving me stuck in my bed and feeling more disabled than ever before.
Sure, I knew where to hit my disability below the belt in our ongoing fight, but man oh man does muscular dystrophy or any type of physical disability know how to go for the knockout. I have had to learn to work in a much more positive manner to help me succeed in college. I had to sit and decide what was more important: my perceived independence, which included indulging in my desire to ignore who I am, or finding true independence in success. I had to make the hard and not-so-fun decision to limit my amount of all-nighters, I had to decide to be concerned about my diet, and I had to decide to add swimming into my routine in order to succeed.
This road is not easy, either, but it is absolutely less self-destructive. As you begin to transition into more independence and more success, be sure to remember that you are a person with a disability and not a disabled person. There is a huge distinction between the two, as I am sure you can see how. Do not be your worst enemy; you have papers to contend with, so do not let your disability become an enemy or rival as you continue to search for individual growth.