From a Future Special Education Teacher: Stop Doubting Me

From a Future Special Education Teacher: Stop Doubting Me

My career choice and major are not your concern, so please stop trashing something you know nothing about.
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At the end of my freshman year in high school I began to tell my family, friends, and anyone who would listen about my passion for Special Education, and my love for the special-needs community, and how I wanted to spend the rest of my life working with and for this community through majoring in special-education, in order to become a teacher. Immediately I was hit with "you don't realize just how difficult those kids are", "I don't think you realize just how much work that's going to be, it's a thankless job" and even "I think you are going to find yourself miserable working with people like that, they hit, they kick and bite, they tend to get very violent, and I think you're going to find that you'll walk in on day one and find yourself to be miserable". In all honesty hearing these comments hurt, not because I was crushed that they had ripped on my ability to work with these incredible individuals, but because never having experienced it themselves, those who were closest to me were willing to believe stigmas over hearing about my own personal experiences. People who have never interacted with an individual with special-needs were more willing to believe the lies the media and society had told them, rather than giving these kids, and ultimately myself, a chance to prove their thoughts wrong.

I continued the rest of my three years in high school refusing to give up on my dream of becoming an incredible teacher, and by June of the summer before my senior year, I had applied and been admitted to my dream school, one that had a fantastic special-education program, and encouraged me to go out and make the impact I so hoped to make. Yet, as I told some of these same family and friends this, they had very similar responses. Now it was "you're wasting your money on a degree that you are going to be miserable in the field of" and "You cannot possibly be serious, what exactly do you plan on doing with that degree?" that those who doubted and discouraged me felt the need to voice. Luckily, I'm a stubborn person, and I refuse to listen to the opinion of others until I have proved myself wrong or right, so off I went, determined as ever to be an incredible teacher who really makes an impact.

Now, just finishing my first semester as a special-education (for student's with cognitive impairments) major, I cannot imagine myself doing anything else, I proved to myself that this career is where I am meant to be. I feel at home in all of my education classes, and I am excited to learn about how to be the best teacher I can possibly be, and truly better the lives of my students. I work my absolute butt off, and pulled the highest GPA I have ever had, as I am passionate about what it is I am learning, and want to be able to deliver it to my future students. I cannot tell you that these people have stopped trying to discourage me thought, if anything it has gotten worse, especially since I have never backed down or allowed them to changed I believe in, myself, and my ability to be a fantastic special-educator that makes a huge impact on her students.

So to those who have worked so hard to convince me to go other routes, a doctor, a lawyer, or even a politician, please do not waste any more breath on this hopeless case. My mom used to say "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all", but to you I'll say "if you don't have anything positive to say about my career choice, keep your mouth shut", because I don' want to hear it. It is not your life, it is not your "mistake" (not that I can agree with that), and ultimately, it is not your money being spent. So, save your energy and bother someone else, since this girl is ready to better the lives of everyone in the special-needs community, by changing how the world and society sees them. Watch me succeed and applaud me, or sit on the bench silently, at this point in life, so many incredible people are encouraging me, that your opinion matters none.

And hey, my classroom would love volunteers when I get there, if you ever really want to see what a successful and fulfilling career looks like! My students I'm sure would sure love to steal your heart, as every student I have worked with has stolen mine. Stay or go, I don't mind, my heart is full by being surrounded by beautiful souls.

Cover Image Credit: Freeland Photography

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10 Horrible Fashion Trends From Our Middle School Days

What a time to be alive.
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Being in middle school is one of the worst times of your life. You're awkward and you have no idea what to think about everything that is changing. I was cleaning out my closet the other day and found my old pair of Etnies and started reminiscing upon some of the worst trends that ever existed in the 2000s. I look at pictures of myself from middle school and cringe. I really just want to tell my past self to stop shopping at Claire's and Aeropostale. But since I did shop at those stores, I do have many embarrassing photos and fashion choices. Here's a list of popular (and unfortunate) trends from the 2000s.

1. Aeropostale

Buy all the graphic tees! I had at least one in every color. So many skin-tight tees were a part of my wardrobe. These t-shirts would always be spotted in MySpace profiles with people throwing a peace sign. Unfortunately, Aero has filed for bankruptcy, so we will be seeing less of them.

2. Rubber "Causes" Bracelets

You would see people walking around with these things up to their elbows! I had one for pretty much every type of cancer/disease you could imagine. Of course the yellow "Livestrong" bracelets were the bracelets that started the trend. (Thanks Lance for that let down.)

3. Silly Bandz

Yet again, a bracelet trend took over our middle school minds. I remember wearing so many of these wonderful "bandz" that the circulation in my arms were cut off. It was also the best thing to compare and trade silly bandz with your friends. I also scoffed at all of the knock-off brands. I only wanted the real deal.

4. Gauchos

Back when these pants were popular I had at least three pairs in a good variety of colors. I wore them so much, my mother could not do the laundry fast enough. I would compare these pants to yoga pants today because they were just as comfortable. It was always way cooler to wear a poncho with gauchos.

5. Massive Sequin Purses

Every girl had these. Mine was lime green. I thought that these purses were cute at the time, but really they are just atrocious. I'm not even sure why I was carrying a purse in middle school. I really didn't have that much stuff save for my phone, lipgloss, and gum.

6. Wearing Jeans with Dresses

Is that dress or skirt too short? No problem, just wear jeans under it! But really though, I have never understood this trend. Even when it was "popular" I thought that it was just plain ugly. I mean, how can you even look at this picture of Ashley Tisdale and not cringe?

7. Heelys

Hands-down the best trend of middle school. Some of my best memories are in Target Heely-ing around the entire store. I would still wear my Heelys today if I had them. No regrets about these shoes. Every adult that I've ever talked to about them, hated them. I guess that's why they were basically banned from everywhere.

8. Soffe Shorts

I had (have) a pair of these in every color. Having these made you cool. Quite often paired with rubber Old Navy flip-flops or some Rainbows, these cotton shorts were a staple of any middle school girl in the 2000s. My cheerleading really helped reinforce my love for these shorts. But thankfully it seems that "norts" have replaced these.

9. Nike Shox

Who actually cared if the spring-things made walking or running easier. These shoes just looked so cool. While writing this article, I was surprised to find out that Nike still makes these shoes. It was always the sporty-athletic people who wore these.

10. Popcorn Shirts

I never understood the madness that is the science behind these magically shrinking and expanding shirts. They are just straight up fascinating. The best ones were tie-dyed. I had one blue one and thought it was the greatest shirt ever.

Cover Image Credit: Cloud Front

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The 7 Stages Of Your Fall Semester, Based On Ross Geller's Everchanging Hairstyles

"We were on a break!" — me doing homework over Thanksgiving break.

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I love the show "Friends." I have watched it more times than I can even remember. The humor is hilarious, the character dynamic is amazing. "Friends" is just a quality show.

However, there is one thing in "Friends" that is not always quality and that is Ross Geller's hair.

Stage 1: The beginning when you feel like you actually have your life together.

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At the start of the semester, you feel like you have your entire life together. Everything is so balanced. You wrote everything down in your planner. You are going to the gym every day. You are feeling like you are on top of everything -- maybe you will even make the President's List this semester!

If you were Ross Geller, your hair would be on FLEEK.

Stage 2: Near the start of the semester when you become SUPER involved. 

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When you go to a club rush, you decide not to sign up for one or two clubs, no. You sign up for eleven clubs. ELEVEN. Why not? You need to put yourself out there, right? Mom and Dad always did say to get involved.

If you were Ross Geller, your hair would be neat and tidy. The "professional look," if you will.

Stage 3: When everything adds up and your life begins to spiral out of control. 

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You know that point, around the end of September and beginning of October, when all of your midterms are during the same week and all of those clubs that you joined are having meetings on the same day? It becomes overwhelming. You feel like your life is getting out of control.

If you were Ross Geller, your hair would be due for some re-shaping. The height and the poofiness, it is just starting to get out of control.

Stage 4: That post-midterm paradise feeling. 

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Midterms are all over. The assignments are all submitted. Now, it is party time. And by party time I mean maybe staying out until midnight, but primarily catching up on all of that sleep you missed out on during midterms.

If you were Ross Geller, it would be time to bust out the OG Ross look — afro and mustache, baby.

Stage 5: It is Thanksgiving break and you do not know how to feel. 

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Should you be excited to spend the holiday with family and friends? Or should you lock yourself in your room and study for hours and hours on end? Who knows. It is a confusing time.

If you were Ross Geller, your hair would be in a decent place of spikiness. It would be a relatively good time in your hair life.

Stage 6: When you realize that midterm season was nothing compared to what finals season is. 

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Yeah, you may have thought that midterms were difficult. Well, that was before final exams came around and you realized that getting an A or a B in a class depends on this one last test (this test that is 40% of your entire grade in the class). You are getting no sleep. You are drinking seven cups of coffee a day. Your meals consist of Goldfish and Pop-Tarts. It is total insanity.

If you were Ross Geller, your hair would be unkempt. It would be the worst it has ever been. It would be getting too long, there would be too much gel. TOO MUCH.

Stage 7: It is FINALLY Christmas break.

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Finals are finally over. You get to go home to spend time with your family, see your home friends, eat home-cooked meals, and just genuinely relax. Life is so good. Everything is so good.

If you were Ross Geller, you would hop on that #NewHairNewMe #NewYearNewMe bandwagon. Sometimes you just need a fresh start.

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