The typical question whenever I go home or I am at a family function is “how’s school going?” Ask me last year at this time and I probably would have burst into tears because I was so stressed. But this year, I am so relaxed and I have nothing to really complain about.
I always thought that grad school was going to be hard and a lot of work and I would be more stressed than last year, but while the material is more in depth and concentrated, I don’t mind doing the work. I like going to classes and I like to read the textbooks that are assigned; school is not a stress for me because I am so prepared.
The literacy program here at Niagara has provided me with so much experience and I am only in my first semester! All the work that is done is relevant and applies to what I will be doing in the future. The professors teach you things that are not only useful, but they tell you when you will be using some of these skills.
One area on campus that has been a huge resource for me is the Community Outreach Programs. Around Halloween, I volunteered with them and the New York Power Authority to incorporate literacy and Halloween activities into an event for children from the local schools. We had to come up with an activity and the staff at the literacy center provided the materials we asked for. It was a really great practice to see how you can incorporate literacy into almost anything!
I also just participated in a Writers Studio program through one of my classes that we held through the literacy center. One of my professors, Dr. Kathleen McGrath, had us do this because of a book we were reading in class about a writer’s notebook.
We asked students to come in from local schools and we had a six-week program teaching them how to write and give them skills to use in school with reading and writing. We started off by giving them a reading assessment and some interest surveys to get to know our students. Then, the class broke off into groups and worked with groups of students to make their notebooks and start writing.
At the very end, we “published” their final piece of writing and shared them with the group and their families. On my end, I had to write up a report about the student I initially had and how she would progress as writer. The assignment was so easy to do because the literacy program provides you with the tools you need to succeed instead of just making students go out on their own. They bring you opportunities because they care about your future here, and places like the Community Outreach Programs make your future happen.