Guest Blog

Growth Potential

25 Sep 2019 by Hope Johnson

“I have always known the value of persistence, and being a college student certainly brought that fact home to me. Because of my Cerebral Palsy, I tire easily”

I've always known the value of persistence.

I've always loved a challenge. It pushes me in ways that I thought were impossible, and shows me I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. It also teaches me how to thrive with Cerebral Palsy.

Graduating from college, needless to say, took a lot of hard work. The saying, "blood, sweat and tears" applies to this experience perfectly, but it taught me some valuable life lessons that serve me well to this day. I fall back on these lessons regularly. 

I have always known the value of persistence, and being a college student certainly brought that fact home to me. Because of my Cerebral Palsy, I tire easily. That did not stop me from accomplishing each and every academic task that was asked of me. My college experience taught me to continuously challenge myself, and has proven to be a winning ingredient as I go throughout life.

I learned not to be too proud to ask for extra time to give me the ability to put my best effort forward.

One of the important lessons that I learned while attending college was to be willing and also to be prepared to work extra hard for the end result. In my case, professors recognized this, and were usually more than willing to give me the extra time I needed to complete assignments when I asked for it. This taught me not to be too proud to ask for extra time to give me the ability to put my best effort forward. This experience helped to prepare me for the working world as well.

College taught me the importance of informing my professors about my condition and asking them to make modifications in the classroom that would ensure my success. At the start of every semester, I would request a meeting with each of them to discuss my needs in order to ease my transition into the classroom setting. To allow me to be a full participant, professors would also give me questions ahead of class so that I would have time to formulate my responses in advance. In most cases, they "bent over backwards" to make me a part of the class. In the long run, I believe that they respected me more for my hard work.

As I mentioned before, I fatigue easily, so it behooved me to take breaks when typing a paper or studying. Not only did that help me to clear my mind, I made fewer mistakes when typing that long, dreaded thesis! I still use that technique today when I happen to have a writing project. 

College proved to be the best time of my life.

My experience at college proved to be the best time of my life. It really allowed me to explore who I was truly meant to be, and I am grateful every day!


Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at birth, Hope Johnson is an honors graduate of Messiah College in English and a freelance writer.  Hope writes to promote general awareness about issues facing the disability community. Her mantra is that anything is possible with persistence, determination, and above all, hope.