New Confidence and Success

Sam’s Story

Sam((“Sam” is a pseudonym to protect the privacy of this student.)) is a RISE Now student who has just completed his computer science and mathematics degree at UBC. Partway through his degree, he came to LDS because he had difficulty writing university papers and felt stressed about written exams. Somewhat of a perfectionist, Sam needed regular extensions and took a painful amount of time to write essays.  

This experience wasn’t new for Sam. He struggled with writing as a child and never developed the key building blocks to be a successful and confident writer. He had seen counsellors for support but was not happy with the results. Like many young adults with undiagnosed learning differences, Sam is highly intelligent. He found strategies to help him cope, but they no longer worked. He knew something wasn’t right, and his writing did not reflect his capabilities.    

Making a Change

So, in the middle of his studies, Sam decided it was time to solve this issue. He did some research and found LDS and our RISE Now program.    

When Sam came to LDS, he was able to identify his primary issues as perfectionism and written output. Sam met with an instructor who built an individualized program to help him meet his goals. He worked on timed creative writing, learning to work on drafts and not have everything perfect, and starting at the end, or the middle, of an assignment.   

The instructor partnered with Sam in his learning and taught him about neuroplasticity. She helped him see that the games they played and exercises he completed were all a part of developing parts of his brain. A person can be brilliant in certain areas and have other areas of their brain that continue to grow and develop. At 22, Sam’s brain was still developing.   


With the help of his instructor, Sam became more open to trying new things, open to new ideas and excited about learning. His self-esteem shot up. He is now proud of the part of himself that he had been worried about for so many years. As an adult, this is challenging to do.  

His instructor shared that he came to a recent session with the results of an in-class essay. He felt good about the results and shared that it was a strange experience because he wasn’t panicking as he was writing. He received a mark of 92%.  

Sam has recently graduated and is starting a new job working in Finance. He plans to continue with LDS as he keeps seeing improvement in his confidence, communication, writing and ability to manage his perfectionist tendencies.   


RISE Now tailors our Research-informed Individualized Student Education (RISE) to the needs of adults with suspected or diagnosed learning differences. Get support in achieving their specific learning, education, or employment goals through targeted support and intervention. If you are interested in learning more or know of a student who might join us in September 2023, please contact us.  

– Sara Jane R. Walker, Senior Manager, Communications

LDS is a community of dedicated professionals that write collaboratively. We recognize the contribution of unnamed team members for their wisdom and input.