Griffyn Burrage

Learning to Learn 

Ever since my pre-K class at Donoho, I have always loved school.  I remember being so excited about getting my school supplies. At “big school”, I loved playing on the playground and my Mom was my music teacher! Throughout my years in the lower school, I noticed that I was different from my friends.  My friends did not seem to have trouble with our spelling words, and I found myself not remembering what letter went where on tests.  During third grade, we had timed math challenges.  I would only have three problems done while my friends were finishing the whole sheet.  While in lower school, I was diagnosed with a learning disability.  I had always recognized that I was different, but I also wanted to be a good student.  For me, a good student meant good grades like all A’s.  I would study for hours. I read my notes, repeatedly.  I would still get everything jumbled and confused.  However, when I was in 10th grade I had a teacher, Ms. Dewberry, and she helped improve my studying skills. After that, I was able to really learn the information by making my circles and filling them in with key topics I did this over and over and I was able to get the good grades I had always struggled to get. With my struggles I found it hard to really find my passion. I had no clue what I wanted to do later in life and my ideas kept changing. But then we noticed my little brother had a struggle of his own. He was not talking much so my parents decided to get a speech therapist to come to our house for help. 

I was sitting in on one of their sessions, and I instantly knew I wanted to be a speech therapist just like her. I may have struggles with spelling, but speaking is always something that I have been good at and you can ask anybody. So, when I found out there was a job where I could use my skills to help kids who were struggling or just born with differences I was so excited. I had never even heard of a speech pathologist, and to be honest if I would have just read that carrer name somewhere it isn’t something that I would have looked into. So without my own struggles and with out my younger brothers struggles I would not be on the path that I am on today. Even though we later found out that he did not have a real struggle with speaking he just simply did not want to, but if you knew him now you would know that he is a chatterbox.
But after that one session I couldn’t get enough of speech therapy. I started volunteering with different speech therapists and I was able to watch kids working to overcome their disabilities. I had one little girl with pigtails and I helped work with her  at the begging of the week and then when I saw her in the hall on my last day with the UCP and she ran up to me and gave me a huge hug.  It was a very surreal experience. I saw at that moment that this job is not just about phonetics, but it is about the kids . It is about helping kids overcome things and help make them feel safe and sure about themself. 

Though my learning experience was harder than most, if my story would have been any different, I would have missed out on so many opportunities. I would not have the opportunity to pursue a career that I am passionate about and see the smiles on kids faces as they learn to overcome their struggles, the same way I did. One day, I will be helping these kids have their own learning story, and just thinking about it makes my heart so happy.