This has been brewing for a while. Recently DB suggested that I need to look at my belief system and see if I need changes.
In 2003 my mother died. In a quick move, I went to BYU-Idaho. I was an Elementary Education major. After 2 months of school, I dropped out of that major, as I was not handling the idea of Special education while dealing with the death of my mother. In Fall 2004, I dropped out of school and took a 6-month vacation from school (and life). The diagnosis of three counselors was “delayed grieving.” The only reason I went back to school was because BYU-Idaho said I wasn’t going to be allowed back in if I didn’t come back in summer of 2005.
Since July 2004, I’ve had 7 official majors with a total of 14 majors (I got to the point that I didn’t ask, I’d just change majors). I was never happy in a major. I found several majors I wasn’t happy with…and I found myself constantly leaning back to one aspect of my life. There was always one topic that kept my interest. There is one topic that I have always scored well in.
California, Utah and a few other major states have created Autistic Only schools. I was happiest in my life when I was teaching. I have continued to work with people with disabilities and I have found a great joy in that type of lifestyle.
This desire to teach has led me on a quest. BYU-I has a K-3 special ed program that is pretty exclusive to Idaho. So I looked elsewhere. University of Idaho in Moscow has a K-12 program. Utah State University also has a K-12 program. Cal State Hayward (I mean East Bay) does as well. All of those K-12 programs are universal, meaning I could teach anywhere in the continental United States. There is a special education Teacher shortage through out the US, as well. And this is something I’m good at. There is a saying "Autism has its own language." I have learned I speak Autism. I additionally work well with people that are mentally and physically disabled.
In my research I have found a few qualifiers. Most Special Ed programs are 60 credit degrees (some are 48). Pell Grants and Stafford Loans run out at 180 credits. I will have in December 119 credits (Total from Ohlone College, LMC, DVC, and BYUI).
Additionally I have found out that Stafford and Pell Grants are only for your first Bachelors. According to the Financial Aid people, there is a possibility of a 12-month loan after petition and a good GPA (which I don’t have) for a second bachelor, but they are not as likely.
I found out that there are loan forgiveness programs available to those that become Special Education Teachers. Up to $17,000. It won’t cover it all, but it will cover some.
I think that I’ve done my homework effectively and done enough. Now comes the big decision. Should I change course? Should I leave BYU-I? Should I do it without a degree (My options at this point are a degree in University Studies which is practically worthless, though not entirely)? Should I stay? Are there things I haven’t considered? Is my father going to kill me if I do this?