Monday, March 21, 2011

The Challenges of Returning To School At 25 And With A Disability


Today's post is the second from guest blogger Jennifer R. Resetar. In her first post, Jennifer told us about Born and Diagnosed With Cerebral Palsy. Today she writes about;

The Challenges of Returning To School
At 25 And With A Disability


Most people graduate high school at the age of 18, give or take. I graduated at 18, but I did not receive the traditional High School Diploma. Due to issues with the math portion of the Florida Comprehension Assessment Test or FCAT for short, I graduated with something called a Certificate of Completion.

The following year, at the age of 19 and engaged to be married, I attempted the math FCAT one more time after taking a new math class at my high school. This was my seventh attempt and I failed. After that, I put passing any math test out of my mind for the next four years.

Then, on March 7, 2011, I started school at Mid Florida Tech. Now I am 25, have been married for over four years, and have recently left a job that I held for four and a half years at the employer’s request. My husband and mother began to encourage me to go back to school to earn my GED. I took the placement test at the end of February and found that my reading and writing scores were very high, but of course, my math computation score was very low.

Due to the low math score, I was directed to a math comprehension class taught by Ms. Marilyn Spence. By the end of my first week, Ms. Spence has told me I may only be in her class for a few more weeks. Once I complete her class, I will retake the placement test. If I score at a 9.0 or higher, I will move to a GED Prep class taught by an instructor named Mr. Edward Kite. He will then help me to prepare for the actual GED Test; the reading, writing, math, science and social studies sections. I am unsure at this point how long I will be in his class, Once I finish, I will then register and my mother-in-law will pay $70.00 for me to take the actual GED Test. If I pass this test, I will graduate with my GED and will hopefully go on to get my degree in Creative Writing by hopefully qualifying for grants.




The challenges that I face as a student at Mid Florida Tech, a technical college established in 1963 and kept well preserved through the years, are as a married woman, I feel awkward from time to time. Also, I am the only student with a disability in my particular class, but I am not the only disabled student at MFT. I have seen one student that uses Canadian crutches, another student that uses a wheelchair and several hearing impaired students. There are plenty of ramps and elevators around campus for the physically challenged students and plenty of American Sign Language interpreters for the hearing impaired students.

I am able to use the two stairwells in my two story building and I do not require any special assistance. A challenge I do face in class is as follows: my class is exactly three hours long and I have trouble keeping up energy on my own sometimes, so to remedy this, my instructor, Ms. Spence, has allowed me to bring bags of saltine crackers to class. If I feel hungry, I just have to let her know that I need to step out into the hallway and she realizes this means I need to eat to regain lost energy.

Another suggestion she made is knowing the pain that Cerebral palsy causes me, she allows me to get up and walk around when needed to alleviate some of that pain.

With the people at Mid Florida Tech, I feel well accepted and welcomed, a feeling I didn’t know existed for four and a half years of working for my previous employer. Going back to school has given me more confidence in myself and more determination to complete my future endeavors.

My advice for anyone that thinks they’re too old to go back to school or for anyone that thinks they can’t do it because of a disability, you are NOT too old to go back to school and your disability should NOT be a factor. Getting your education and moving forward in life to bigger and better things should outweigh any challenges you may face. A friend once told me that determination comes from self motivation. I believe that this means if you are a very self motivated person, you are very determined in life. I tend to be this type of person and I believe that in order to succeed in life, you need to have these traits in your personality.

As a married, disabled woman, going back to school does not have as many challenges for me as I once thought it would. It has more pros than cons for me and I am sincerely grateful that I took this step.

I owe a sincere thank you to my husband, my mother and my father for their undying support and encouragement.

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