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Why Finishing High School Online Was Better for My Health

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I still remember the sinking feeling, a boulder falling into the pit of my stomach. After another failed attempt at surviving a school day, I stared at my swollen knuckles and simply broke down. For the first time in my life, I felt like a prisoner, confined within the skin and bones of the one thing that kept me alive. My mouth was dry from explanations, legs buckling from trying to catch up with the rest of the world. But, how could I ever catch up when my body couldn’t run without collapsing?

In the blink of an eye, my education became less of a right and more of a mountain to climb. The days spent outside of school were so many that I truly wondered if there would ever be a time when I’d step foot inside that building again. Windows of institutional abuse and discrimination were smashed into the smallest of pieces, leaving me with the residual cuts and scratches to heal myself. It was mind-blowing how I could be surrounded by hundreds of schools, and they would all still be out of my grasp.

It was unacceptable how their first reaction after the words “chronically ill” was to arm themselves with shards of excuses while already holding their office door open. It was unbelievable how there were hundreds of stories of patients who were forced out of the school system because of their illness, teens who never walked the stage to get their high school diploma.

After several months of struggling with the traditional education system, I started searching for alternative routes and options that could mold to my situation. The most sought out turned out to be virtual schools and blended programs offered by certain schools. Thus, my family and I decided on switching to online school as my main alternative for the remainder of my high school education. This became a tool for continuing my education in between doctor appointments and hospital visits.

Many people never understood this personal decision, and most probably never will. But, I refuse to let society deem me as unworthy of existing because my life is drastically different from theirs.

To all those who are struggling with their education, who are trying to make it through – if you can’t catch up with the pace of the world, don’t be afraid to set your own. It will never make you be less than the rest. It will never make you less worthy of accomplishing your dreams.

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Gettyimage by: AntonioGuillem

Originally published: January 19, 2018
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