The Studying With Dyslexia Blog is proud to introduce university student and journalist Iga Kozakiewicz-Schlegal. Polish by birth and having spent some time in the US, Iga found herself studying Journalism and Feature Writing at Southampton Solent University where she has already received awards for projects that she has been involved in as well as being featured in a recent Guardian article about students with dyslexia.
Today Iga shares her story about what it has been like to go through school and university with dyslexia and how this has shaped her career in journalism.
A journalist who daily gets inspired by people, places and things.
When I was 9 years old I moved to America from Poland and I was always slower in reading and writing than everyone. This was of course because English is my second language. However, I never really had problems in school because the school system in the USA is a lot different than in the UK. Tests and quizzes are usually based on multiple choice rather than writing long academic essays.
At the age of 16 I moved to England to continue my studies. When I started sixth form my teacher noticed that I was a lot slower than average in reading and writing. It always made me feel uncomfortable to read out loud in class. I always hoped that the text would finish before it was my turn to read. My concerned teacher got me tested revealing that I had got dyslexia.
It was a really tough time in sixth form. I barely passed due to timed exams (which were long essays). I always kept telling myself that “I can do it,” and I did.
I was accepted to Southampton Solent University to study Magazine Journalism & Feature Writing – it’s ironic right? Dyslexic student who wants to become a journalist. I felt positive though. I knew if I worked hard I was able to achieve anything. Even though starting journalism was very hard. I had to work a lot harder than other students. It didn’t bother me though, because the moment when I started studying journalism it became my life. I would easily get frustrated when I tried to write something but it didn’t make sense or it sounded awkward. In the last 2 ½ years of studies, step-by-step I became better and stronger. Most importantly it was due to the incredible help I received from my tutors and the DSA (Disable Student Allowance). They would re-read my work to make sure the structure was right and that there are no grammar or spelling mistakes.
Now looking back the last couple of years of university, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you have dyslexia or any other disability. If you have the passion and work hard, anything is achievable. In June 2015, Alice Freeman and myself created a magazine called Soton, which was a huge success.
|The successful SOTON Magazine by Iga and Alice Freeman|
The free print magazine about Southampton’s creative culture was distributed to hundreds of local companies and future students (even in China).
In October 2015, at the Redwood Magazine Academy, myself and three other students won the Best Magazine Original Concept. (read more here and also read more here.)
Now I am working on my final major project The Diary of… a magazine about inspirational people, life itself and the world around us. This is the biggest project I am working on because I will be taking it further and making it a worldwide independent magazine.
So even though I deal with dyslexia on a daily basis, it doesn’t mean that I can’t follow my dreams.