Don't Give Up by Adele Hauwai
Monday, 4 December 2017
Don't Give Up!
By Adele Hauwai
My name is Adele Hauwai, NZ Maori of Ngati-Kahungunu/Tuhoe/Tainui descent. Throughout my 23 years of epilepsy I learnt a lot about the importance of having tenacity, grit, persistence, and resilience. Before I was officially diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 11 years old, I had always been a goal-oriented, academic, social-butterfly kid. Boy did life do a 180 when I started having approximately 6 seizures a day! A grades went down to E grades at high school. I’d go weeks without school, too ashamed & embarrassed to return – especially after having seizures during assemblies and class times. I felt like no one understood me and how epilepsy affects everything!
I remember opening up some of my school reports and exam results, bursting out crying when I saw my results were typically less than 10 or 20%. All the sleepless nights of studying, doing homework, attending afterschool tutorials, etc were all a waste of time ... so I thought. I’m grateful that I followed my heart and listened to the real inner me though. “Don’t give up. Just try another way and another way and another way until it happens”.
During my last year at high school, I got extra support from our Form 7 (year 13) Guidance Counsellor. She could see that I was an extremely hard worker with my studies. Just my epilepsy was affecting my memory & learning abilities. She wrote a special report to the University of Waikato where I wanted to study an Education degree. And before we had even sat our end of year exams, I was accepted into university through special entrance.
Even though I had to resit papers & alter my learning styles to help me to learn better, it took me 4 1⁄2 years to complete that first university degree. But I learnt that there’s no ‘one way’ of doing things. Think outside the box and be creative. Don’t let your epilepsy determine who you really are inside. The most successful people are those who don’t give up!
This story was a part of the Epilepsy NZ Tell Us About It Competition. People were asked to send in their stories about epilepsy, the challenges they faced and the lessons they have learned that they would like to share with the world.