College Days

 

me and ben at almost 4

 

I attended three dif­fer­ent col­leges over a period of many years. After I grad­u­ated from high school, I went to Modesto Junior Col­lege. After a cou­ple of years there where I was get­ting my lower divi­sion require­ments done, I had my first detour in my col­lege education.

I became preg­nant with my son Ben. When he was 7 months old, I became a sin­gle mom. School was on the back burner for many years and I focused solely on rais­ing him.

When he went into first grade, I went back to col­lege at Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­sity, Stanis­laus. I was at first a Psy­chol­ogy major, but I quickly decided to go for a dou­ble major to pre­pare to be an ele­men­tary school teacher. Trans­porta­tion was a major chal­lenge for me, since I am unable to drive because of my vision. I spent about 4 hours a day on buses to get back and forth to col­lege, while jug­gling school and being a sin­gle par­ent of a child with spe­cial needs. My mother was an incred­i­ble help in this process.

To pre­pare for the Mul­ti­ple Sub­ject teach­ing cre­den­tial, I switched to Lib­eral Stud­ies and Psy­chol­ogy dou­ble major. I had the edu­ca­tion track require­ments, the new CLADD require­ments, and my con­cen­tra­tion in Excep­tional Child and Youth. I finally switched to a minor in Psy­chol­ogy. While I was attend­ing col­lege, my son was switched from being in a reg­u­lar class­room to a non pub­lic school for chil­dren with spe­cial needs, and had two surg­eries. It took sev­eral years to finally fin­ish my BA.

Then came my sec­ond detour. My fiance passed away at the same time my mother’s health seri­ously dete­ri­o­rated. At this time, my son grad­u­ated from the 8th grade and there was no school that would pro­vide what he needed for high school. I left school and moved in with my mother to take care of her and home­school my son. Then in Decem­ber of 2005, my son passed away. My mom died a year later.

After work­ing through my grief, and mov­ing to San Jose where the pub­lic tran­sit sys­tem was much bet­ter, I started my teach­ing cre­den­tial at San Jose State Uni­ver­sity. My plan was to get my Mul­ti­ple Sub­ject cre­den­tial, and then open my own edu­ca­tional con­sult­ing busi­ness. Halfway through the pro­gram, that door was slammed in my face. Cal­i­for­nia laid off over 20 thou­sand teach­ers to help bal­ance the bud­get, and I was let go from the program.

So now I am once again rein­vent­ing myself and start­ing a new jour­ney. I do not regret any of the twists and turns along the way. All are valu­able lessons and expe­ri­ences. No mat­ter what hap­pens along the way, you can move for­ward and not remain stuck. You need to not blame the cir­cum­stances, but learn from then and find a new path when you run into a dead end. I have done it many times and you can too.

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