Turner Syndrome Can't Stop You - by Carissa Caulum
Hi, my name is Carissa Caulum. I am 28 years old and was born with Turner Syndrome (TS). In those 28 years I have had open heart surgery and a pacemaker put in during my freshman year in high school. (In 2024 it will be 15 years since I had the surgery). I graduated high school, college, and graduated law school in 2020. I passed the Wisconsin Bar Exam and am now a practicing attorney in Wisconsin.
I know a lot of people with TS have to overcome so much. Whether it’s learning disabilities or medical issues, or combination of them. Those issues affect people differently and people deal with those issues differently. After my open-heart surgery, I knew I wanted to go into a career that would help others. I decided I wanted to be a lawyer.
That also came with the doubts of am I smart enough to go to law school because I have TS. Can I graduate law school and pass the bar exam? Luckily, I had support and encouragement from my family. After doing some research about what the law schools had to offer, I started to realize that I could do it. After failing the bar exam 3 times, I started to think I could never pass it, and all of this was for nothing. I took the bar exam a 4th time and I passed it!
I was able to follow my dreams because I had the motivation and determination. I also had the support of my family to help encourage me when I was down and doubting myself. Yes, I was able to get accommodations in college and law school, which was getting extra time to take exams. I know some people with TS use it as a deterrent from following their dreams and going after what they want.
I see Turner syndrome as a positive by thinking yes, I have this condition that can come with limitations, but I can overcome those if I work hard enough. Yes, it might take me longer to understand the material or take a test. As long I have resources that will help me, I will take that extra time to understand material.
I will end on this, if you have support, motivation, and determination you can accomplish anything. If you don’t have a support system, reach out to a person you trust that believes in you because not even TS can stop you from accomplishing your goals.