Time goes so fast…started grad school this week.

The summer sure does seem to be flying and I write this after just arriving back up in Wisconsin after an hour and a half drive from my grad class. I cannot believe I am saying grad class. Tuesday I had my first day from 1-8:30pm. We are suppose to go until 9:45pm but we got out early because it was the first day. The first class I felt like I was six years old again. We all had to fill out name tags the professor provided us with. They were on colorful labels with crayons as the back round print. Then we had to put our name on a name tag that sat on the desk that you would see on your desk when you were little that said “My name is….” Easy way for the professor to call on us. The professor also brought cookies for all of us. I kinda had to laugh the way my first day of grad school was starting off it was kinda like that first day of school as a child. The professor of my first class seems to be a tough guy and has high expectations then again I have to remember this is grad school you cant get much higher then that other then Phd. I must say after my second day today going from 1-9pm I am finding everything very interesting. Learning about special education students in schools all the terms and not labeling kids. We also picked today a topic for our 30 minute presentation we each have to give on a disability. I find it only fitting to do epilepsy since I was so WRONGLY diagnosed with it. It peeked my interest and since I do a seizure condition and take medication to control it I feel it would be a good topic to learn more about. Wednesday I spent the day at my hometown library that I have not been in since I was a high school senior. I had to go get a new ID and remember where everything was. I checked out many books including many on epilepsy and spent hours sitting quietly reading.

My two summer grad classes last 5 weeks. 1 week is down 4 more to go. I have two exams next Thursday and will have exams in both classes every Thursday until the last day Aug 8th which will be soon. I have so much to do before then reading, papers, projects, and studying my heart out. One of my professors said that if you are working full time and trying to take two summer classes you are nuts that is just too much then again I have always had a full load in life so I will handle it just fine. Last summer I was working on my 2nd book, working full time, and taking 4 online summer classes that was overload but I got straight A’s on my online classes. The pain about my summer classes is the drive it takes me an hour and a half from Wisconsin to get there but it is only for a month longer. I am lucky I am taking the class with 4 classmates I just graduated from Western Illinois University with. I feel like we never left our college town of Macomb having class with them. It makes it fun knowing people in class.

Today we did an assignment in my psychopathology class on mental status exam which is a tool social workers, counselors, therapist use with their clients observing their overall status, appearance, back round, speech, mood, expression, responses, asking questions about suicidal and homicidal thoughts, and so on. We had to role play something I have done over and over while taking takes undergrad at Western. We were paired up with another student and had to take turns being the social worker doing the mental status on the other person and the other person had to role play and the one asking the questions had to figure out after fifteen minutes what the person was acting out. I figured the girl out that did me and she was acting out someone suffering from depression. She got close with me she thought I was suffering from an anxiety disorder after asking all the questions..for me I really did not have to act it out I just had to pull out the person I was in high school and pretend to suffer from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) Something I feel I have gained control over or at least do not suffer from it like I did when I was in high school. I believe four years of undergrad and now grad school taking social work classes made me my own good therapist teaching me a lot about myself and how to deal with things the PROPER way. My good friend Angela who graduated in May from WIU with me was in the class and overheard me role playing my act out and she turns to me later during a break and said you acted yourself out..I laughed and said of course I know all the symptoms it made it easier for me then to pretend to act out manic depressive or schizophrenic.

We learned a lot in my exceptional child class about IEP (Individual Education plan) making goals for students, annual reviews on those goals, the teams that come together (teachers, psychologists, social workers, parents) to go over the students goals. Our professor told us once we start our internship the word IEP will give us nightmares. He went into detail on how much paper work is involved. I am used to it my internship I finished in May involved lots of paper work. Just more good experience. My life is always dealing with paper work it just depends what I am writing the story of my life or documents for an agency/school.

There is also a new program the state of Illinois is using with special education students and that is the RTI “Response to Intervention. It is used on a three-tier model that shows instruction and interventions for students needs. Sounds interesting and we will be getting into more detail on Tuesday about it.

Well that is the exciting life of a college grad student in her first week of her last year of school. It is rare I say something like this but I must admit I am proud of myself. I have come a long way in life and have proven a lot of people wrong who doubted me in high school telling me college was not in my future and I need to think of other alternatives. Both my high school counselor said this to me and math teacher. Two people that should be motivating students to succeed were telling me the opposite. I was not going to let their negative thinking or doubts of me keep me from succeeding. I dropped out of the math teachers class and immediately went to the dean of student services and shared my concerns as a high school junior. I was able to switch high school counselors. Here I am five years after that conversation with two people that are suppose to be role models and am a college graduate who graduated with honors and got accepted into an advance standing masters program who will hold a masters degree in 9 months at the same time be the author of a second book.

So to the high school teacher, high school counselor, and anyone else who ever doubted me “Thank you from the bottom of my heart!” You made me push myself even harder to prove I was not going to be labeled and can accomplish anything you put your mind to.
I will teach the students I work with a positive attitude that no matter what challenges they face in school or life they can overcome and succeed at anything they want as long as they are dedicated. A little dedication goes a long way.



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