This is what I drank in training, and the Ironman. Now it's the Goofy Challenge

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Dealing with Advanced Education after TBI

So I have left my second attempt school. First was College. I made it through three semesters but then, between the course load, my reduced processing speed, the fact that since my injury I am very easily over stimulated. Not to mention just the stress of college. I had to decide to continue or leave.

In order for me to succeed at school. I take what is called High Needs Part Time Student Loans. These allow me to go school part time, with full time student loans. The idea that because I require extra time to process, study, respond, and digest information. I am also unable to work while taking courses. This is quite a change for a guy that pre-injury could be at work on the phone, surfing the web, talking to a co-worker and still stay on top of everything. My reduced multi-tasking skill have been greatly reduced.

So for me to get a bachelor degree it would take me 8 years, and it would cost me allot of money. Not only in student loans, but because I am unable to work at this time. Poor student doesn't do it the explanation justice.

The other problem is that a bachleor degree in Psych or English, would allow me to work at Starbuck. As I am resently married, I want a to profide, I want a home, I want a dental plan, I want car insurance etc.

So I changed schools and I thought maybe a trade program. I researched, and did all the required pre-tests. I got registered and went on the waiting list. Then I started BCIT Framing & Forming. This would give me a 2nd year Carpenter apprentice degree. Allowing me to go out and start making some real money.

This would be a 6 month course. Two semesters of three months each. BCIT has a different kind of teaching and learning which would be a little easier for me to learn. Instead a broad amount of information spread out and then a test every two weeks or monthly. They do what is called Brick Learning. So you learn something today. You go home and study it, you review it the next day and have a test. Then you through it away, and you learn something new, go home and study. Next morning you have a review and a test.

This seemed to suite me very well, for my ability to retain information is incredibly challenged since my accident. I was getting 75% to 80% percent on my daily tests.

Then came the semester final. There was some confusion about how I take my test. To help deal with my Aphasia. (I won't go into a description of Aphasia but if you know what it is, you probably smiled when you saw that BCIT disabilities way of dealing with it was a dictionary). Long story short, my final grade was down to 35%. BCIT requires a minimum of 70% to graduate.

I got a little upset because of the disability testing process, but that's another blog altogether. So there way of dealing with my greatly reduced mark was to allow me a retake.

Sounds great but as they were informed of my disability, and my requirements, more than a year in advance, they were instructed with my specific needs. There way of doing the retest would be two weeks later. In the mean time I would continue in the next semester. So I would still have to take in new information, have twice weekly tests, and still study for the last semester.

That combined with another brain fart. I nearly collapsed in class one day. My brain shut down to what reminded me of right after my accident. I was confused, I couldn't find my internal GPS, I had no sense of who I was, where I was. Completely disoriented. I manged to find my way to my Dr's Office and another long story short. After a Sleep deprived EEG, I got a medical leave of absence.

So as I right this, I have gone back to the Running Room. All the people in my life have informed me the last time I was happy was when I was working at the Running Room and Training. So here I am now $16,000.00 in student loan debt and no degree.

I am now attempting to receive some of my funding back from BCIT, and see what I can about my student loans. The Running Room does not pay allot of money, so on top of Rent, credit cards, electrical, and hydro. I don't have allot of money. With Mandy still in school. It will be a fun couple of years.

On the upside I may be broke but I will be happier, and I will be able to train for Ironman full strength now.

I guess this is next chapter of living with brain injury.