I believe my vision will not prevent me from succeeding.
I lack vision in my left eye since birth due to Optic Nerve Hypoplasia (ONH) — which is the underdevelopment of the optic nerve during prenatal phases. Therefore, I cannot see clearly through the affected eye.
Even though I face many difficulties, I believe my visual disorder will not hold me back from succeeding. Since I believe this, I prevent myself from letting anyone know about my challenge. I went from kindergarten through twelfth grade without anyone knowing, until I told my mentor and favorite teacher, Ms. Hickman, during a casual conversation. Ms. Hickman puts the reason I do not tell people in the simplest terms: “[I am] afraid of being looked down on.” Even if this is partially true, I think no one has to know about it.
Besides pain and irritation, the most difficult moments I have faced is getting my driver’s license. I cannot see anything clearly through my left eye, so multiple items are requested — glasses, contacts, and documentations. In fact, I still do not and probably will not have my driver’s license.
On the other hand, ONH has helped me become a stronger candidate for many opportunities. I did not write essays on this for college or scholarship applications because I did
not want my teachers and guidance counselors to know. However, towards the end of my high school career, I was called out of class — ironically from Ms. Hickman’s class — by the counselors. The three counselors began to ask me questions about what makes me different, so I confusedly stood in that small office. Then, they said anything health-related? Immediately triggers were set off, and I became noticeably shaky. My initial thought was “Hickman told them.” I knew what they wanted, but I thought about not telling them. However, it was my only way out of the office. After hugs and compliments, they said, “[t]hat is why you are different” while I was thinking, “[p]lease let me leave.”
I was disappointed with Ms. Hickman at this point, but I was not sure whether she told them until she explained to me why she told them. I could have held a grudge against her, never tell anyone about my disorder, and destroy my networking connections with her.
Before the counselors found out, I decided to do my capstone project on ONH in third person. Ms. Hickman advised me that it would be stronger if it were in first person, so I took a personal approach — which surprised my classmates during my presentation. My nervousness during presentations could not be compared to my nervousness with the counselors. The first question they asked was how it has been different from having two visualizing eyes. Since I have never seen clearly through both eyes, I was answerless.
With or without clear vision, Optic Nerve Hypoplasia will not prevent me from achieving my goal of becoming a pediatrician, because my vision will always focus on my success.