Shonti "sage" Ganguli

Back on May 22, 1979, at age 13, I started to cross the street in front of a regular bus that was being used to transport students and was hit by a car passing the bus. I personally have no memory of it, but am told that I was thrown 10 to 15ft. I had two areas of impact - my head hit and shattered the windshield of the car and then the impact of hitting the ground with the back of my head. I was immediately in a coma. I was taken by an ambulance to the General Hospital in Cincinnati, OH, where I remained in a coma for 10 days. I was then transferred to the Children's Hospital where I remained for 2 weeks. After this, I was transferred to Children's Convalescent Hospital, where I remained for a month.

It is this last hospital that I have any memory of. I had PT, OT and speech therapy daily. Some time in August I was allowed to go home, though I still went back for therapies every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The therapies were phased out. PT was the first to go, then OT and I was still in speech therapy once a week when school started in September. My mother tried to convince the school to let me repeat 8th grade, but my school refused because the accident had happenned right before the school let out for the summer -- so they passed me on to the 9th grade. The only thing my mother could convince the school to do, was to at least let me have shorter days for the first quarter. I had 4 classes instead of 6.

Needless to say, the first year back was a blur. The teachers that passed me, passed me out of pity and nothing else. I somehow managed to pass on to the 10th grade. However there the teachers began to evaluate me more on my abilites. The school I was attending was an academically advanced school that I had tested into prior to my tbi and on the advise of everybody I left that school. I attended 11th grade at a private school on the advise of the counselors. I ended up hating the private school, it was very cliquish and I could not fit in and just went because I had to. I transferred to the public high school for 12th grade and graduated from high school there.

After high school, I went on to college, simply because I had always assumed that I would. Prior to my accident I had been a bright student and had always planned to go to college. Futhermore, I come from a professional family, and going to college was a part of my self-identity since childhood. I do have the benefit of a supportive family and my mother convinced me to first start at a junior college within the university. I did alright in some of my classes and dropped most of the ones I was doing to poorly in. While still in school, I got married -- a big mistake -- and moved to California. The marriage lasted two years. I went back to Cincinnati after that and was determined to get my bachelors degree. I had found that I had no ability for foreign language previously, so by going through evenning college I was able to skip that requirement. I majored in liberal arts -- which has proven to be useless because of no speciality -- but I do have a bachelor's degree.

I have attempted other things both with school (MS in library science and BS in social work) and various employments but ended up falling short. I presently work at WalMart and have for the past five years. I have also gone back to school for an associate degree in human services. I hope to either work with more recent brain injured individuals or with special education, where I did my last internship and loved the kids. Maybe more school later. But right now I just have to get up my gumption and apply different places for the type of work I want to do. Sometimes it is easier to dream about something than to try and have it fail. But you never know unless you try -- so wish me luck and success in my future endeavors. I am still seraching and maybe by the time I am 65 or older I will know what I want to do with my life.

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