Since I have started the "College Experience Program" at Saint Rose I have learned so much about living independently in the real world. Through the program I have learned how to cook a little on my own, and how to pay attention and interact with others better. I've also learn how to take public transportation.
All of the life skills college teachers here are amazing and pleasant. They don’t give up on you. I've never learned so much in my life! For the first time ever I am taking a real math class that teaches me useful math skills. We talk about timing yourself when getting ready, how to figure out what time it is, and how to save money. I actually have a social life and huge support at my new home in Albany.
Yes, having a disability can be bumpy here and there. It can be difficult at times, but that makes us who we are. When I was in high school I didn't really learn as many functional life skills. I wasn't given all the opportunities like at my life skills college. I am actually learning, laughing, and having a life.
I am a lucky person today. Why am I a lucky person? Because when I was in high school and in middle school when I didn't understand something some of my teachers got frustrated with me. It felt like some of them gave up on me. Here at Albany, when I found out that I failed the bus test I was very upset. I cried. I kept on getting lost or pulling the bus string too early. So my amazing staff member, Katie, had a great idea. She made me a cheat sheet so I wouldn't get lost . It looks like a map with pictures and directions. Now I am getting the hang of not getting lost.
In high school I took only four classes. I never felt like they were real classes like the other kids. I took a math class that I didn’t really understand. In that class we watched things like Brain Pop. I also went to the school work program . I went to work during school because they knew school wasn’t for me. At that time I thought it was a great idea that they made that choice.
Now what I am realizing, since I’ve been here at this wonderful college, is that I’ve never taken a real test before. In my program they actually make you learn and they don’t give up on you. Yes, here and there, I’m not going to lie – It’s going to be like a rollercoaster, but I can only imagine all the things I’m going to learn. For example, I had a cooking prep class. In this class we learned stuff and then we took tests. When I found out that I got a “F” on my first test, I thought that was good–but later I found out that was failing. Never having taken a test before, I had no idea what grades were passing and what grades were failing. I got embarrassed that I failed my cooking test, but even though its hard at times I’m learning that I love to cook. Each day I get better and learn a little more. For example, the other day I put the back burner on by accident. Now I am getting use to it. I just have to stop, think, be calm, and try not to mess up.
My new goal is not to compare myself to others because all people are different. Like I get jealous of my awesome roommate because she is smarter than me in certain situations, but god made me who I am. I have to think positive. Every morning my day will get easier and better for me .