Tuesday, January 5, 2016

One Semester Complete and Many More to Go

The first semester of FSL is complete, and I can’t wait to start the second.  During the first semester, we were able to offer one-on-one mentoring, one-on-one tutoring, and my favorite part, the one-hour a week course. 

I was a little worried about the mentoring at first.  I didn’t want the participants to feel that I was trying to insult them by suggesting that they needed one, but they loved it.  Some were able to do things with their mentors such as go to the Foy Center and work out, while others attended APSU functions like dances or simply “practiced” socializing.  Many friends were made during the semester, and I couldn’t be happier about the outcome.  One of the participants actually said that, although she had a tough semester (a grandparent passed and difficult classes), it had been her best for making friends and getting more comfortable socializing. 

I realized very quickly that I’m going to need to have a “social hour” in addition to the course.  The participants have so many great discussions, but as the instructor, I have to get in the content of the course, so during this spring semester, we’ll have an hour for class, and then I’ll be available for an hour for them to stay and socialize.  It’s amazing to me how much I learn during these classes and social times.  Although the program is technically for them, it’s quite possible that I learned the most last semester. 

Also during the spring semester, we’ll be adding some supervised study hours and “coaching” that will involve the participants having one-on-one sessions with FSL staff (we’re hoping to be able to add more this semester with grant funds) to discuss issues such as course work, grades, specific needs, etc.  These sessions will be guided by goal setting and teaching participants how to choose strategies that will best work in specific situations.  

I can’t wait to see what the new semester will hold.  We’ll be having a few additional members this semester, and I’m already being contacted and meeting with people from across the country about participation in the program next fall.  It’s an exciting time for us, and I’m so happy that we’re taking these steps at APSU!