By the time I was 16 years old, I had no idea what I wanted to do for a living. I disliked reading and writing, but I had no problem verbally communicating with others. Never realizing how oblivious I was toward the way I would speak, read, and write when communicating in the past. I was setting myself up for failure and embarrassment. I thought my literacy levels were overall good. After a while, I started to notice, I was attracting a “certain kind of crowd.” Seating and events were always the same; “In the back of the room or by the kitchen door entrance.” Our crowd was always the one tucked away. I never understood why but it was easier for all of us to form an opinion together about the others who got the special treatment.
As I got older and graduated high school, I found a job at a clinic called Vida/Sida Health Center. I was so excited and eager to work but I first had to get through the three-week training. This proved to be more difficult than I thought. I was more concerned with what my friends were doing, hanging out all night, and going to bed late. I put little focus on the training material because it involved intense reading and writing. I thought to myself, “Communicating will not be a problem, I speak well. I will just brief through the material, remember a few important points and make it sound good.” I let three weeks of training go by with little engagement toward studying.
Three weeks went by quickly and I found myself sitting in front of my manager listening to him as he says, ‘it is time to go over everything you learned and see if you are prepared.’ Thirty minutes into the review, my manager tells me, “it sounds like you’re ready.” I had no idea what he was talking about. Then he says; “we have a proctor here from the HIV/STD Certification Board, and she will be testing you an exam on everything you learned about the training material. If you pass the exam, you will become certified as an HIV/STD Female and Male Anatomy Assistant Counselor.” She introduced herself as Mrs. McGee, and quickly went over the instructions and placed the exam down in front of me and states, ‘you can begin your exam.’ I had two hours to complete the test. I sat there and stared down at that exam and started flipping through the pages. I became confused and nervous. I could not spell or pronounce the words correctly. I did not understand what I was looking at. The time felt like it was flying by quickly. When I looked up at the clock, I had fifteen minutes left to finish the test. The pressure of not knowing the material caused me to give up. My bio-reactions went into full effect and I begin picking random answers. I finish the exam, got up and handed it to the proctor. She at once began to grade my test. When she finished, she looked up and said, “you failed the exam.” I was so embarrassed and quickly blamed it on the tester’s anxiety. She told me I can make one and only one more attempt to pass the test. I agreed to a retest, and she then granted me an additional week to study. I did not take the training seriously until I had to remember three weeks’ worth of training material in one week. It was an exhausting struggle that took a lot of time and energy. I felt like I was ready to retest.
After taking the exam a second time, everything just made so much more sense to me. I was impressed with myself. Now I can speak, read, write and understand the terminology proficiently. After completing the exam in one hour and fifteen minutes, I got up and handed the test to the proctor. She immediately starts to grading the exam. When she finished, she looked up at me the same way she did in the past with a ‘ you’re a failure,’ look, and states to me; ‘you passed the test with an eighty-two percent. Congratulations!’
It excited me to receive my certification. I never felt more accomplished in my life. I was now officially able to work on my task. I worked at the clinic for two years before I attended college for nursing. Although I successfully finished college, things seemed different. My literacy level in the past was subpar, and to be frank, it was horrible. I started to distance myself away from the old crowd I hung out with in the past. It was easier for me to understand why people treated us the way they did. The crowd including me spoke very load, acted irately and cursed profusely. In reality, it embarrassed me and the crowd. I could not believe I conducted myself in that manner daily. Most of the crowd started to become separated. I continued with my career and associated with a variety of people from different career backgrounds.
Conversation and understand made a lot of more sense. Controlling my bio-reaction, analyzing, and Constance correction has been keen for me. Although, as I progress in the medical field, I still find reading, writing and speaking difficult. Medical terminology is one of the most difficult languages I have encountered. I struggle every day with medical terminology. Trying to pronounce and spell words like “bronchiectasis,” and “biliary dyskinesia,” can easily confusing. The one thing that helps me remember is constant studying. I do this by frequently reading, writing, and pronouncing difficult words out loud. Engaging myself helps me understand new and difficult material and also prepares me for what’s to come in the future.
I am now thirty-four years old and I notice a difference in my character from my past and my character today. I find myself seated at events with people in front of the room. Conversations have more meaning, and I am respected for my profession and professionalism. I look and listen to the crowd in the back of the room, laugh and think to myself; “I miss that feeling of freedom and not caring what people think about me,” but then I quickly come back to reality and rethink how much of a struggled it was for me to go from a crowd to just one successful person. I finally realized; I do not need a crowd to form an opinion. I do not need a crowd to express whom I think I am. Nor do I need a crowd to seek attention. I achieved it all by struggling to get where I am now, and that’s with my crowd that is just me. After this experiencing.