There have been days when Isaac Moses’ anxiety prevented him from going to class.
“Sometimes I’d stand outside the classroom and be like, ‘No, I can’t do this,’” he said.
Moses graduated from Pleasant Grove High School a few weeks early after taking classes his senior year through the Alpine School District’s East Shore Online program.
Moses has never been much of a people person, but things got worse after he sustained a traumatic brain injury five years ago.
He was in seventh grade in May 2014 when he was playing softball in a physical education class and was struck in the side of the head by a line drive. Moses was flown via air ambulance to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, where he ended up undergoing two surgeries during the summer.
His mother, Angela Moses, was told she could see anywhere from minor to significant changes in Isaac following the accident.
“Just from a spiritual perspective, I knew it would be OK” she said. “You’re scared to death because it’s your kid, but I just kept thinking how strong he was and how he dealt with it so well.”
Returning to physical education wasn’t much of a problem, he said, but being in the same spot created a mental blockade.
“Eventually sometime during lunchtime I went up there and just kind of sat there in silence,” Isaac Moses said.
Classes also became a problem. He’s a good student, but his anxiety would get so great that he would feel overwhelmed and like he had to leave the classroom.
“I don’t feel comfortable around a lot of people,” he said.
Some classes were easier than others. Moses said it all depended on the teacher and how large a class was. But there were still several moments when he felt like he couldn’t do school anymore.
Then his counselor, Josh Tenney, suggested doing online courses. Moses jumped into them for his senior year and enjoyed doing things at his own pace.
“He is the type that is self-driven,” Angela Moses said. “He likes to get it done.”
Instead of dealing with the crowds at Pleasant Grove High School’s Wednesday’s graduation ceremony, Isaac Moses received his diploma a few weeks ago in Tenney’s office. Moses said Tenney began playing graduation music and turned the occasion into a mini, individualized graduation ceremony. Moses’ parents are fine with him skipping graduation — as long as he still dons a cap and gown for pictures.
Moses plans to attend college and pursue a career in the arts. He’s currently looking into online courses.
He attributes his family to helping him cope with his anxiety in social situations and recommends that others with anxiety find a way to help them focus.
“Just try to find the best way to cope with it, even if you can’t be in the classroom, there are other alternative methods you can use to succeed in school,” he said.