Never let them take away your dreams

Taking the easy road has never really been my thing.

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This is a long one, but I promise it’s worth it.

When I was a little girl, my answer on the question ‘what do you want to become?’, was always ‘a teacher!’. My mom is a teacher, so that was what I wanted to be. Well, that changed throughout the years, but at the end of the day I’ve never seen myself doing anything else than teach. My dream was to become a teacher

However, to understand my story, I should go 12 years back in time. When I was nine years old I got really ill. Well, when I tell you I got ill, you’ll probably have a completely wrong image of what I had, but let me explain. All of a sudden I started talking really slow, when I was doing things like eating or writing, my hands were constantly shaking, I couldn’t walk in a straight line anymore… After a couple of days, my parents called our general practiser and he send me to the hospital. As I arrived there, a doctor and three nurses were waiting for me. I stayed there for a week, but they couldn’t find anything except from antibodies against an infection I had, which could have attacked my brain tissue. That could have caused the symptoms I got. But they assured us that if it was that, the symptoms should go down quite fast.

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But they didn’t, it only got worse. Speaking got really difficult for me, I could barely write anymore and doing to things at a time was nearly impossible, I didn’t have the reflex to swallow. They did all of the tests again, but it gave us no new information. So what happened? The amount of antibodies I had in my blood was really high, and they attacked my brain quite badly, especially the parts where your ‘speaking’ is. I remember really well, sitting there in therapy and my speech therapist asking me ‘Right Eva, I want you to stick your tongue out and move it from the right to the left,’ So I was sat there with my tongue out of my mouth, and I did really believe that my tongue was moving, but it wasn’t. The incentives I gave, didn’t get through. I went to a revalidation centre for 9 months, first every day, and then it gradually got less frequent (I was quite happy with that, ‘cause that meant I could go back to school). I did speech therapy for at least another year. Nearly everything went back to normal. Until today, I do have to concentrate more on my articulation than other people, and when I get really tired it gets harder. There is a whole lot more to this story, but we’ll save that for another time.

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But 9 years later, I still wanted to become a teacher. After a lot of contemplating, I decided that I didn’t want to use my past as an excuse anymore. I know I would have to work hard, but I was willing to. I even started speech therapy again. So in 2014, I started my teacher training. The first semester went well, but the second one: I was exhausted. I always had classes in the morning, which meant I had to take the train at 6:50, we had a lot of deadlines, and I was under a lot of stress. One day, I unexcitedly had to give a test lesson for my fellow students and my docent. Let’s say, that didn’t go very well. It was the first one I had to give (and I’ve always had a bit of performance anxiety), so I was really nervous. I was tired, I was stressed, which made it, at that moment really hard for me to talk loud and clearly. I knew that, and I knew I had to work harder on it. After that class, I wanted to talk to my docent, tell her my story and what I wanted to do to improve my speaking. She didn’t listen and the things she said to me were the most horrible I’ve heard over the past few years. She said to me: ‘Eva, someone who has only one arm or leg, doesn’t have to try to be a P.E. teacher either.’

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That night I came home crying. She called me disabled and technically told me that I could never become a teacher. She took away my dream. But not for long.

That night I decided to do everything I could to prove her wrong. I’ve worked hard, really hard. And here I am, three years later, with a bachelor degree in education. I’m officially a teacher in Dutch and history.

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What’s the point of this post?

Well, I guess I wanted to inspire you. Inspire you to believe in yourself.

My advice to you? If you want something really bad: work hard, believe in it and never let anyone take your dreams away from it.

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If I can do this, you can also do whatever you want.