I began participating in the CCS program for the first time in fall 2014. It was a wonderful experience and an exciting opportunity! At first I was unfamiliar with how to work with transition-aged students in a college program but I quickly realized it was interesting to see the dynamic of the program and how it ran. What stood out to me the most was helping students to strive for greater independence. I learned not to be too quick to step in and to give answers. Instead I learned how to go through the process of having them problem solve, to make choices, and for them to come to an answer, and right or wrong, for them to learn from their decisions. At first, I was nervous. As a pre-service teacher I thought it was my job to give answers. It was hard at first to ask “Well, how could you do that?”
I completed my undergraduate program and decided to continue to get my Master’s degree in special education. I continue to work with students in the CCS program. I can see how important it is to increase self-determination and independence skills. It is rewarding to watch as students living in the dorms are homesick and miss their parents. It is often the first time for them to be away from home and living with someone that is not a family member. They want to go home every weekend. But it doesn’t take long before they want to stay on the weekends to take in all of the social activities that are offered on a college campus. It saddens me to think that I will be graduating in May and I will not be seeing the students every day. But I plan to keep in touch so that I can continue to observe their progress and to see how independent they will become.
~ Laura (Pictured on left)