The sure way to miss success is to miss the opportunity. Victor Chasles
Write about the best opportunity you’ve been given and how you made the most of that opportunity.
The best opportunity I have been given was services with Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation. Voc rehab is a program run through the state department of education, and it is one that is meant to help people with disabilities live and work independently.
In the early days after the car accident and coma, when I was in rehab for head injury, I was offered the chance to apply for assistance through that program. At the time, though, I was so scared of being “damaged,” that I didn’t even want to acknowledge what was going on with me. I was fine. It was fine. I could handle it. Just let me get back to school and it’ll be fine. That was my mindset.
Acceptance was hard to come by.
I did get back to school, and I was “fine,” according to the measure I set: success in class. I worked hard and did well. I still had seizures I couldn’t control and double vision, but I was fine.
Then, when I was just starting my social work program one the fall, I started having trouble with my school ID. I traced the problem back to the registrar’s office: no tuition had been paid since the previous winter, which was something my father was supposed to do per their divorce. Therefore, I was not technically enrolled in school; I was in a sort of limbo. I wasn’t really in the social work program, the one I had worked so hard to get into, and if the bill wasn’t paid by the end of October, I would officially be out of school. I called him for months about what happened and talked through his wife – I never did talk to him. At the last possible stressful anxious minute, the tuition was paid in full. My position at the university was secure, but I felt very vulnerable.
I don’t remember how I got the idea to get in touch with Voc Rehab, but I remember the early appointments and testing. It sucked, but, once it was done and I was in, I was in. When they told me I was in I remember asking, “Not to sound unappreciative, but why? What’s in it for you?” My worker said, “If you are educated and working, you’re a taxpayer.” That basically, it was cheaper to pay tuition if that meant I could work and support myself. Something about the way that he said this made me feel like I was being handed a great responsibility. An adult responsibility. Like they were making a bet on me, and I was a good bet.
They offered to pay for my school-related bills: tuition, books and fees. They didn’t pay housing, so I worked and lived on a tight budget, and every semester, I had to submit my schedule and book requirements, but they did it. I had support while I was in school for issues related to my seizures or injury. For example, I found out I could get glasses for my double vision. Then, once I graduated, I was free and clear – I didn’t have any student loans or anything.
The other opportunity voc rehab gave me, different though equally significant way, was that it took me out from having to be at the mercy of my father’s abuse. For the first time in my life, I had the power to stop him from hurting me, and I did it.
What about you? What kind of opportunities have you had in your life?