You Need First Aid, Not Financial Aid

No one in an epic crisis would intentionally slap a lifeguard, run away from the paramedics, or avoid a star in Mario Kart. That sounds silly at first, but that is how it appears when we reject help-especially when we know that we need it. But according to research help around campus is becoming more and more difficult to find. According to an article by The Hechinger Report, there is only 1 College Advisor for every 367 students ( When you don’t take advantage of help when it is within reach you could find yourself standing behind 366 other students.

I don't know about you, but I would prefer to fight all of those guys with help...I'm just sayin'...
Everyone wants to be an academic Rambo, but if I saw all of those guys at the bottom of the picture coming after me I’d want some help.

If you plan to survive any emergency or disaster you need to know where your resources are and how to use them. Using campus resources is like having a first aid kit, so it needs to be approached like this:

#1. Know What Goes Into A First Aid Kit: Most people can name 5 things that go into a first aid kit, but can you name 25 things? If you have a first aid kit for your house, you’ve gone hiking, traveled cross-country, or prepared for disasters, then you can probably name more than 25 things that could go into a first aid kit. Identify the Student Services office/area at your college…and if you are being proactive, identify them BEFORE classes begin. There will be information online at the schools website, at the Admissions office, or the office for the Dean of Students. There are even Student Organizations who keep lists like these. This will require for you to research and network–which are two activities that require you to do a bit of leg-work. Here are a few areas to call the school about:

Counselors : Not just Counselors for the school, but ask if they have program-specific Counselors, i.e., Counselors for Health Science students or Engineering students. Locate their offices and their free resources.

Disability Support : Did you know that some schools provide special devices for the hearing impaired? Did you know that some schools provide special testing areas for students? They can also help you to determine if you have been dealing a with a learning disability.

Veterans Assistance : These initiatives help our Veterans to get adjusted to college life, access supplies, interpret complex college documents, and simply offer support to those who have supported and protected us.

Tutoring Services : Schools usually have different tutors for each of the major subject ares or those areas that seem to encounter the most difficulties. Now, most tutoring is free so most often the cost is simply your time.

Minority Based or Needs Based Services: Ask your school if they have any academic, minority or needs based student groups available for you to join. Often times these groups have alot of strategies in place for student success, as well as access to other very viable student success resources.

Food Services: You will live and die by your stomach, so know what food services are available on campus. Lots of student clubs have free food as incentives to join, and they already expect you to come for the food. Some local establishments give student discounts but some of the better discounts can be found on apps like the Vittl app.

#2. Locate Your First Aid Kit: You need to know where your first aid kits are. I keep a first aid kit in my bedroom, one in the kitchen, another in my car when I travel, and the 4th is in my office. I have needed all 4 at some time, and most of the time it has been for other people. The point of this is that I knew where to locate my assistance when I needed it–even if I did not need it often. Do you know where to find free tutoring? For Math? For Biology? For Literature? For Economics? Did you know that there are programs that provide assistance for clinical and technical supplies, like nurse uniforms, welding masks, technician gloves, lab coats and more? These programs actually pay for your equipment! What have you found on YOUR campus?

#3. Pay The Fee: There are two prices to pay for free assistance–Pride and Time. We have to put down our pride to ask for help and admit to ourselves that we are not perfect. We must spend the time seeking this assistance, while keeping in mind that sometimes academic assistance is NOT clear. It is often times created, but not publicized nearly as well as school officials assume that it is. They think that an mass email and some small flyers on random boards will out shine the frat party flyers and free pizza flyers. These are outdated notions, and they simply do not work. To find the best resources, it will require a few days of searching for sure.

When my friends and I arrived for our first day on campus, we spent the weekend before classes walking the entire campuses, walking in and out of buildings, and writing down what we found. Why? Because the campus was pretty big, we were pretty new, and people told us everything we needed to know about having fun–but nothing about where our classes were, where the other computer labs with printers were located, and where study labs happened to be for each of our majors. We located so many secrets that for an entire semester people thought that we were sophomores! It’s not too late to begin searching for this material right now. It’s time to get a first aid kit and stop being a casualty of war.


Before You Go Back For More Fried Chicken, Make Sure That You Read This

I really hate ultimatums; I prefer to have choices and options. That’s why I used to religiously eat at buffets. Those places were created for those of us who truly believe that choices and options are better than originality and consistency. If I was on my way to grab a bite to eat and spotted a buffet along the way, I would make an illegal U-turn and make a mad dash to grab my first of many plates.

What I didn’t realize was that the prices for buffets had begun to slowly increase. It became just as expensive to eat at a good buffet as it was to eat healthy. It really made me angry, because cost had been one of my best weapons in the fight against those who wanted to choose other restaurants. And when I got food poisoning from a buffet that was overpriced and poorly managed I decided that maybe the buffet isn’t the only place to eat.

After some intentional soul searching I realized that my real attachment to the buffet had to do with security. I recognize what was being served at a buffet. I didn’t order the chicken—the chicken was already cooked and I could choose to eat it if I liked what I saw. If I went to a restaurant and ordered chicken I was afraid of giving up my position in the deal. Instead of seeing exactly what I was getting before committing, I had to take a gamble. I had to take a chance and risk the disappointment of receiving something that I really wanted but could not obtain.

Is this your reason for not going to college? Is this your reason for choosing the major that you can complete rather than the major that you truly desire? Is this why you have convinced yourself that you don’t need to go to graduate school? Is this why you won’t just take a chance and travel out of the country to take a new job? My advice to you? Drop the buffet.

Don’t Worry, You’ll Probably Fail This Time Too

I’m having a hard time right now because every year I make a list of goals for the new year. However, those goals are usually set to surpass the previous year. I’m not trying to do that this time–instead, I am trying to create new goals to take me where I have never gone before.

There are still things that I want that I have wanted for a really long time and I do not feel as though I have gotten any closer to gaining those. I have been fooling myself into thinking that I am doing something new, when I am simply doing the same thing in a new way. When you do this, you are simply staying in your comfort zone. In 2015 I decided not to simply do things differently but to do things that were totally new to me and the results have been AWESOME. So in 2016 I plan to do completely new things while expecting failure. Failure is not bad: it is a teacher. It teaches you how things really work in life. As for me, it teaches me alot of things about myself like my limits, my fears, my talents, my character flaws, and so on.

Driving a ATV through jungles and mountains was new for me. Visiting the local villages opened my eyes to so much.
Driving a ATV through jungles and mountains was new for me. Visiting the local villages opened my eyes to so much.

When I managed to pull myself off of academic probation I did totally new things, NOT the same old things. I studied in totally new locations at totally different times. I took classes at weird times on weird days. I studied with brand new people. I started an entirely different workout. I have a feeling that we do not try new things to change old problems because we are still hindered by our old fear of failure. As we approach the new year, don’t let the fear of failure trick you into thinking that you know more than you really do. Test your limits and move forward into trying new things to overcome your old problems!

Have you tried something new that totally changed your life as a student? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Watch Yo Mouth

Don’t tell my Mom this but one rapper that I enjoyed listening to in the late 90’s was a guy named Redman. I have no idea why I like him because our personalities were like night and day. The only thing that we had in common was that we were the same shade of brown.Redman-by-Jason-Goodrich_thejasongoodrich.com_

However, I was always amazed at the things that he would say in his lyrics–especially the things that could/should never be said in public. Most of his music never played on the radio stations because of the lyrical content. I quickly found myself narrowing my music lists in college because I loved music so much that I wanted to share it with whomever was close by. But its hard to let people listen to your music when what your music is saying is so offensive.

The same things could be said about the things that come out of your mouth when talking about your teachers. No matter how emotional you may feel, make sure that what you decide to say to your instructor will not be “Rated M for Mature”. Also, make sure that whatever you say to them will be well received by the Dean, Provost, Vice President or even the college President because anyone could be included in the process for settling an issue between a student and teacher depending on the details. The process for handling a student complaint these days is actually in favor of the student from the start, but your bad character and tainted words can derail the entire process.

3 Steps To Miss Any Class

I’ll make this one quick because I could go on for days about this issue. If you ever become a student anywhere, you will miss a class or experience a moment that could lead to you missing a class. I hated missing class, but I soon learned that I couldn’t avoid the unexpected.

Education has become far more data driven, and so has financial aid. This means that the stakes are high and attendance rules everything around me like Wu Tang Clan and C.R.E.A.M. So when you don’t show up for class it can create a rift between you and the instructor due to the fact that they are under quite a bit of stress already. There are a few people in life that you always want to stay on good terms with: the person who signs your paycheck, the person behind any gavel, the person pointing the gun, the person holding your rope or ladder, and the person deciding your final grade.

So if you are going to miss ANY class, remember to do these 3 things:

Step 1: Contact and Accountability

Contact your teacher ASAP to let them know that something has happened, but don’t worry about telling them specifically what has  happened just yet. Students often times get so hung up on what actually happened that they never say anything at all. Never saying anything is the same as cutting class for no reason at all. The instructor can never deny that that you made contact, and in the end someone will have to acknowledge that. When you have documented evidence that you contacted your instructor immediately concerning your absence, a college must take that into consideration–which could lead to a changing of a grade, re-taking of a test, make up work, or more.

Step 2: Get Your Documentation Ready

Now its time to get like Jason Bourne and collect your evidence. I don’t care if your teacher is Miss Krabapple or Miss Finster–somewhere on that ladder of academic authority someone knows the truth–and the truth is that no one can deny documentation. While you’re at the doctor, get a note on his/her letter head. If it’s a car issue, get a receipt from the garage or towing company. All you need is something in writing from a credible source (i.e., a professional witness who saw you). And make sure that your teacher does not have to ASK you for the documentation 3 weeks later. That just makes things worse.

As mean as she was, even SHE had to respect the rules.
As mean as she was, even SHE had to respect the rules.

Step 3: Get Updated

I’m not telling you to lie–I’m just telling you to be really, really smart. If you missed class Thursday, check your syllabus to see what was supposed to be covered on Thursday and ask your teacher about that topic: “Professor Smith, on Thursday we were supposed to cover American Economy from 1880 to 1899. I would like to know about the key events during that era that you covered.” Now that teacher is going to have to explain what they did/did not cover, and you get it straight from the horses mouth. Teaches used to be able to act like jerk-faces and simply reply “Oh, just ask someone in class to give you their notes” but now teachers are being watched for student engagement and customer service. So if you have these kind of conversations documented as well, it will keep you out of that kind of trouble.

HOWEVER, none of these tips will work very well if you have or will display the following:

A nasty attitude

Stories that conflict with one another

Bad attendance every day BEFORE the incident

Bad attendance everyday AFTER the incident

Previous incidents between you and the teacher

Follow the three pointers listed above and you will find that regardless of the class, you do have rights and procedures that protect you in the case of class absences. Just be smart and use them 🙂