The Rollercoaster Ride of My Life

(Part 1)


Brendan Connelly, Brunswick Forest

I have gone through many twists and turns in my life. My life can be compared to being on a rollercoaster.  It starts with a massive drop off; goes back up and repeats this process several times. Through many struggles I have been able to persevere, however without the support from others I would not be in this position today. Fasten your seat belts as I take you on the rollercoaster ride of my life.

The first thrill on this rollercoaster ride of my life is a massive drop off. My life began in tragedy. I had seizures as a baby and struggled through the first two years of my life with them. I was put on the Ketogenic Diet to raise my sugar level. I was in and out of the hospital because of the seizures. My doctor even said, “It would be unlikely he would be able to go to college.” Eventually I would prove him wrong. However, at the time, nobody could believe him to be wrong.

My life was in trouble, and school was coming upon me. My life would change drastically that September, only this time it would be for the better. In September of 1989, my life would start a new chapter. I was starting school for the first time in my life. Due to my seizures, I was behind on my academic level, thus I was put in Preschool Handicapped. That experience would be the greatest I had ever experienced, based on the circumstances.

I can still vividly remember the environment at Lincoln Preschool in Bergenfield, New Jersey. My teacher was Mrs. Boland. She was especially nice and helpful. The school was small and that was good enough for me knowing that would be my first school. Everything was going fine, and the good fortunes continued as I moved into Kindergarten at Franklin in Bergenfield. My teacher there was Ms. Malone. Just like Mrs. Boland, she was very kind and worked well with Special Needs children like me. I felt just as comfortable there as in Lincoln.

In July of 1994, we moved from Bergenfield to Harrington Park, New Jersey. Just as I thought things were going well, that fall I would face another setback. By November I would be searching for answers once again.

In September, I was about to start first grade in County Road School in Closter, New Jersey. My teacher would be Mrs. O’Brien. I had two great teachers in Mrs. Boland and Ms. Malone.

Mrs. O’Brien was nothing like them. She had her own teaching style, a much stricter style, a style I hated from day one. Once anyone misbehaved in the classroom, she would get angry and yell at you.  Almost every day my mom would be called to come get me.

It was clear I did not like that school, and I could not make it through the year. By November I was gone from County Road and was searching for a new school. Just when I though there was no answer in sight, that December I would find heaven in Waldwick, New Jersey. In December of 1994 I would be starting my second school in four months.

Rollercoaster photo by Somruthai Keawjan on Unsplash