My Experience with ET Has Humbled Me

Each semester, the IETF awards four $1,000 college scholarships to students who have essential tremor through its Catherine S. Rice Scholarship Fund. As part of the application process, students are asked to write an essay on the topic, “how essential tremor has affected my life.” The following essay is from one of our fall 2021 scholarship recipients.

By Terrin Griffeth,
Brigham Young University,

Many times I have heard the question, “why is this happening to me?” Everyone is different and encounters unique trials or difficulties in life. However, I strongly believe that everything we go through in life has a purpose and ultimately is a situation that we can learn from and use to our benefit, not only in our own lives, but also in the lives of those around us if we will let it.

Terrin Griffeth 2020 scholarship winner photo

I first recognized the tremors while I was living in Brazil for a service mission. I began to shake every day and it progressively became more severe as time passed. I would get asked many questions on why I always shake and some people even made fun of me because of it. It was a little bit concerning at first because I had no idea what was happening and why my body was doing what it was doing. Once I arrived home, I was diagnosed with essential tremor (ET). As I researched and learned more about ET, I realized it’s not something to be afraid of. Rather, it is something to learn from and adapt to. It is a part of me, and it’s not something to be ashamed of.

I have learned many different things from having essential tremor, and I want to use what I have learned to help others who may struggle with similar things that I have. It has helped me come to realize that even though it has made some things a little more difficult, I can do anything I put my mind to. Essential tremor is something that is a part of me, but it does not define me and who I can become. Everyone encounters different circumstances in their lives that they would consider difficult. When we encounter obstacles in our life and it seems like we’re climbing up hill, they are opportunities for growth to help us become better and stronger. Obstacles in life can either help us grow or stop us in our tracks. The question is “what will we do with the obstacles in our lives?” I am determined to grow from them and I know my ET has helped me see things in a different light. It has helped me reach out and help other people who I probably couldn’t have helped before. However, since I have gone through similar things, I can use my experiences to help other people. Our circumstances don’t determine who we will become. Instead, it’s what we do with our circumstances that determines the heights we will reach.

My experience with essential tremor has humbled me and allowed me to look for ways to help others who have a lot harder circumstances than I do. When I see others and the struggles they go through, it helps me realize how lucky I really am. We go through the things we do in this life for our own benefit as well as an opportunity to help others.


Do you want to help support students with ET during their educational journey? Make a donation to the ET scholarship fund online.