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    Adapting to Life Outside Our Home With SMA

    I once heard a joke that a woman’s mind is like an Internet browser that has 1000 tabs open and running at once. I laughed at the time, but came to realize that if I didn’t actually feel like this before hearing the short acronym “SMA,” I most certainly do now.

    I spend much of my time pre-planning and thinking of possible problems that we may run into because of the kids’ diagnoses. I think many other SMA parents do this as well. Prior to our lives with SMA, we didn’t realize just how inaccessible the world is to those who are differently-abled.

  • This topic has 4 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 1 year, 3 months ago by Kevin Schaefer.

    • Author
      • #13151
        Kevin Schaefer

        For incoming college freshman, it’s orientation season. Though it’s been six years since my freshman orientation, I wanted to share a few tips based on what I remember. I had a great college experience, and while having SMA certainly made it challenging, the times I had and lifelong friendships I made were well worth the additional effort.

        For orientation, the first thing you want to do is use it as an opportunity to familiarize yourself with your college campus. Figure out which areas are most accessible, and which ones aren’t. The more you can get used to the campus when there aren’t thousands of people around, the better.

        Second, meet some people while you’re at orientation. Granted, there were a lot of people who I met at orientation and never really saw the rest of my college career (this is pretty typical), but there were a few good friends I made that week. Most of my friends I made once I got into my major and joined campus organizations, but orientation is a good opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and get to know some other students.

        Third, start to explore some student organizations during orientation. I’ve said before that I’m a huge advocate for getting involved in campus life while you’re a student, and orientation week is a great place to start. You will be bombarded with membership requests that first week, but it’s good to start thinking about what clubs and organizations interest you the most and check those out. The connections you make there could very well turn into lifelong friendships. I’ve even met caregivers through student organizations I joined in college. Start exploring your passions now.

        Orientation may sound like a boring endeavor, but if you take advantage of it it can really be foundational to your college career.

      • #13619
        DeAnn R

        Great tips!  Definitely familiarizing yourself with campus is important.  I remember struggling to find elevators to get me where I needed to be.  After going up an elevator I was almost in tears because I had no idea where I was.

        Also, during orientation don’t forget to have fun!  We had lots of entertainment from comedians to concerts that first week.  It’s easier to make friends with people who enjoy the same activities.  Plus you don’t have to worry about assignments just yet.

        • #13769
          Kevin Schaefer

          Ah yes, elevator hassles are fun. The older buildings are especially troublesome, as the elevators can be difficult to find.

          And absolutely. Enjoy that time when campus is full of energy and there are no assignments yet.

      • #13762
        David Z

        After you get your schedule but before classes start, it’s a good idea to visit the classroom for each of your classes, to scout out routes to, seating in, etc.

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