Tips For Surviving Your First Day of Higher Education

While exciting and new, your first day of higher education may also be very stressful. Your first day is the day you make first impressions, not only with the new crowd at school, but with professors, TA’s, roomates, and dorm-mates.I think this title deserves to be split into two categories. There is the first day you move in to a dorm, or campus living, and in a way, that is like the first day of higher education. It is the day you enter into a brand new environment, and the life you will be living the next 4 years. There is also the first day classes begin. Getting lost and confused are all apart of that dilemma. Here are some tips to guide you through both beginning stages in higher education.1) First day of college lifeThe rush-a dreaded day for dorm goers. This is the first day you’re allowed to move into the dorms or apartments, and EVERYBODY is moving in. On my first day, the building I was moving into was a mess. Not only were they moving in 800+ young and excited freshman on one day, but they were doing it in a building with old, cranking elevators that broke down half the time. For someone living on the 7th floor, like myself, carrying a loft and mattress up 7 flights of stairs was not an option.So here’s the first tip: either come very early to move in, or later in the evening. It’s usually crowded by about 9am, so unless you’re really an early bird, I’m going to stress the evening. Find a place for your family to stay for the night, and show up to your new campus around 4pm. Moving in will take and hour to an hour and a half, rather than five hours during the day.Tip two: Once all moved in, keep the dorm door open, and meet new people right away. The people living on your floor are the people you will see the most this first year of college. Introduce each other and be open minded. Get to know people, and go hang out in the common area for awhile. These people can be a lot of help later on with classes, studying, or basic living problems.2) First day of classesTip three: Don’t find where your classes are on your first day of classes. Before the big day, walk around the campus and find all the buildings you’ll need to transport to. This way you can also get to know where other important locations may be, like the library, food venues, or your advisor’s office.Tip four: Come to your first day of classes prepared. Pick up your books ahead of time, and bring at least paper, pen/pencil, and the required textbook for each class. Some professors will give you assignments on the first day, and you’ll need to write them down. Others will give you important information about the class and schedule that you’ll need to remember. Besides all that, you’ll be handed a ton of syllabuses and schedules to keep track of.Tip five: Try to sit in the first three rows in a lecture. They told me this at freshman orientation, and I laughed at first. I learned quickly, however, how much it does matter. It’s a great way to get a good first impression with your professor. My second semester I started sitting in the 3rd row for a class I had to repeat. When I came in for help with one of my assignments, I introduced myself to my professor, and to my surprise, although he didn’t know my name, he knew me and knew exactly where I sat. Because of this, he knew I showed up to class nearly everyday, and was truly focusing on his lecture, and was happy to help me with my assignment. Happy to say, I passed that class the second time with flying colors.Sitting in the first few rows can also help you concentrate on the material being taught. It’s easy to space off or start doodling when you’re tired, frustrated, or just not interested in the current unit. It’s material you need to know however, and staying focused is key.So good luck. If you do end up showing late for a class or miss out on an assignment, don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world. College is a learning process, and not only academically.

4 Parenting Tips – How to Overcome Blame, From Special Education Personnel

Are you the parent of a child with autism that has been blamed for your child’s behavioral difficulties? Have you been told by special education personnel that your child’s learning disability or difficulty is your fault? This article will discuss a study of school psychologists about blame for children’s learning difficulties. And also, give you tips,on how to overcome the blame, placed by some disability educators.Several years ago, I heard about a study where school psychologists were asked who they blamed, when a child had learning difficulties. The basic outcome of the study showed that 100% of the psychologists that were surveyed, placed the blame on the child or the parents. Not one school psychologist blamed the school district, teacher, inappropriate curriculum, lack of resources, or inadequate instruction, for children’s learning difficulties. Years ago, I heard a school psychologist blame a mother for her daughter’s learning disability, since then I have heard it several times.While the study did not include blame for behavioral difficulties, it has been my experience that school personnel often blame parents for children’s school behavioral issues. Parents must overcome both types of blame, so that they can advocate for an appropriate education, for their child.Tip 1: If a school person tells you that your child’s behavior, is because of something that is going on at home, stand up to them. Tell the person that you do not believe that this is true. If your child has autism, they may have a lot of behavioral difficulties due to their disability. Most families are not perfect, but most times do not cause a child’s behavioral difficulty; especially if the child’s behavioral difficulty is at school.Tip 2: Try and figure out what your child is telling you by their behavior; perhaps the work is too hard, they are not receiving appropriate instruction. Try and figure out the ABC’s of Behavior; A stands for antecedent (what was happening before the behavior), B stands for Behavior (what was the specific behavior), and C stands for the Consequence (what did the child get out of the behavior). By focusing on the behavior, and not the blame you will help your child.Tip 3: If your child is struggling with academics due to a learning disability; make sure that they are receiving research based instruction, which is required by No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Children with learning disabilities need a reading program with five principles: Simultaneous multi sensory, systematic and cumulative, direct interaction, diagnostic teaching, and analytic instruction. Check out http://www.ortongillingham.com for more information.Tip 4: Tell the special education person, that your child has the right to a free appropriate public education, and you will be holding them accountable for that. Be honest, and bring up any school related reasons that you believe your child is having academic difficulty, or behavioral difficulty. Many schools continue using outdated curricculums that do not work, which can cause lack of academic progress and frustration in some children.You can overcome the blame that some disability educators try and place on your or your child. Continue to focus on your child, and their needs, and this will help you overcome the blame. Your child is depending on you!