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How Blogging for AbilityLinks Helped Me Get Into My Dream School

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I’ve tried to start a blog before. Sometimes I would receive a comment or two, but I’d usually lose interest quickly since I felt like nobody cared about what I was writing. I didn’t understand why. I was a teenager with a fairly rare genetic disorder, osteogenesis imperfecta, talking about what my life was like. I knew many parents blogged about their lives raising children with disabilities, but I hadn’t encountered many from the perspective of the children themselves. Today, of course, I realize most of my writing was just hormonal teenage angst I probably could have just kept to myself! During my transition year of high school however, something changed. That something was my first internship.

I started working with AbilityLinks in 2013, a company that helps people with disabilities find jobs. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I started; I didn’t know what they would possibly have me do! When I met my supervisor, he told me I’d be doing research on disability and disability employment topics, and then blogging about them. This was something entirely new to me — blogging based on research. As it turned out, I was good at it, and people seemed to really enjoy my writing! I never wanted my posts to be boring or just fact-based. While I did not inject my opinion (after all, this blog was career-focused), I did try to present information in an interesting way that showcased my writing voice.

This writing helped me in so many ways. One of the biggest was increasing my confidence in my own abilities as an author. Here was tangible proof that people were reading what I had to say and enjoying it.

I’d need that confidence come 2015 as I prepared to apply for college…again. Yes, three years after graduating from high school, I was applying to college for the third time. The University of Illinois was my dream school, and had been since I was 13. The disability services they offer are above and beyond any school I had researched in high school.

The first two times I applied led to rejections, and at times I wondered if I would ever be “good enough” to be accepted. When I asked why I had not been accepted the second time, I was informed I’d need to increase my ACT math sub score. I spent almost all of summer 2015 working on math in preparation to retake the ACT. I succeeded in raising my score that October, and I applied to U of I again that October. I’d have to wait four months until I found out.

February came, and I was absolutely ecstatic to learn I’d be an Illini attending U of I in the fall. At that time, it felt like August was ages away. I’ll be moving into my dorm in a week. I credit AbilityLinks for a big part in my success. Working with them helped me gain the confidence in myself to never give up and keep trying to get into my dream school. The result is more amazing than I could ever have imagined.

Originally published: August 17, 2016
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