Moving away to college is a huge transition for any student, but especially for those with a physical, mental, or learning disability. Now in its second year, StepUp!, a transition program run by Student Disability Services, gives about 20 students a more relaxed start to college life. A few days before joining their classmates at Weekend of Welcome, students arrive on campus and are assigned a student leader who, along with SMC staff, helps them move into their rooms, and guides them through two days of programs designed to put them at ease.
“Certain students may find it extremely overwhelming to move in when other students are moving in,” said Student Disability Services Coordinator Stephanie Flores. “We created something more mellow and easygoing.”
Flores and Julie Crowder, Disability Services access coordinator, and student leaders offer strategies for coping with campus life, such as good time management, healthy roommate communication, and navigating the library. Also, once students receive their class schedules, they find their classrooms so they know exactly where to go before school starts.
“The classroom search relieves some anxiety and allows the students to focus on adjusting to campus life,” Crowder said. “The student leaders also share their own experiences with the new students as they explore campus.”