One particular event in my high school career to illustrates this point was my guidance counselor and her lack of guiding or counseling. Senior students were required to meet with the counselor with their parents to discuss their college choices. I had wanted to go to the Culinary Institute of America since I found out about it in the 5th grade, and was determined to get here ever since. I immediately told her my college choice, the period of time I had wanted to attend the school, as well as my desire to apply only here and perhaps one other school (though I didn't want to ever consider a second choice). She didn't take to this very well. She hadn't even heard of the school or understand what it was, how well known it was and only degraded it further to me by referring to it as “That little cooking school in New York.” She quickly dismissed it as a place I could never hope to attend and suggested the state or community college that would be more “on my level” and a place I would be “more able to handle”. I was shocked and furious. I always knew I had struggles and hurdles with everything in my life, but I had fought bitterly against being treated and labeled as someone with “disabilities”. I didn't know how to react to the situation in a calm and professional manner. Not being intimidated, and not wanting to show she was making me so angry, I more strongly stated that I've been wanting to come here since I was a child, I tried to explain my passion for baking and my interest in the school, all while trying to keep my voice from shaking with anger or telling her how I really felt about what she had said. I also firmly told her that I would apply for this school only, and if I didn't get in, only then would I apply elsewhere. Her attitude and tone became condensing, and hinted I should have other options. I, however knew what I was capable of, and didn't let her talk me out of it.
This particular situation is worth mentioning because my entire life people have treated me like my principal and counselor had. My parents were told by doctors I probably wouldn't progress past the mental and education age of that of a six year old. Some teachers and doctors regarded me as someone who wasn't really capable of much because of my disabilities. Years later my extern bosses would implore me to drop out of school and pursue a different career. I never had a voice up to that point with my counselor, and when she told me I couldn't do something just because I had some difficulties that she would never understand, I wasn't going to let her intimidate me into settling for something less than what I knew I was capable of.